Sounds of the Resurrected Dead Man's Footsteps
By Marvin Bell
The dead man must deal with life.
If he became abstract (dead), if he became
ideal (dead), now he must bathe in the
chalky light that is debris.
He must slosh through the blood that is
the residue of height.
Where people jumped, their last act of will,
choosing not to be smoke, there the
bodies linger and soak in.
Where the towers crumpled, there he must
forge a testimonial.
What shall it say to the future about the
It must begin in the safety of expectations,
in the routine alarm
and morning coffee.
It must carry the dead through tubes and
over bridges onto the Island.
It must sing with the draft of the ferry
and the hum of the tires.
It must ride the subway with the heroes
This, then, it must do lest we forget the
joy of waking.
And what of the thousands?
What of the firemen who went inside for
the last time, the police who stood
in the way, the pilots and crews forced
to lift their hand against
The killers in their certainty and the tenets
of which they were certain,
what of them?
Can we stomach the worst of man and go on?
Don't we live on it, nature that rains good
and evil, haven't we brought in the crops in
bad years and good?
Now I am the dead, all the dead, and you
and you shall be all of them also.
We became them by absorption.
We must deal with life which is also death.
Love is not pretty.