The Wisdom of the Dead


The dead know the way the water flows

through every crevice in the crust

beneath the sealed coffins.  Buffed

and polished, the black of their Sunday

shoes remains, but the dead desire feet

bare and bathed in the seep of rain.

Their bone boxes keep them packed

in rows.  Then, the first hard freeze

begins the heaving, water empowered

to move earth, roots, and stone,

but not the steel of modern caskets.

The fortunate few convince their families

to conceal pry bars, wedges, and ratchets

in the white crepe lining.  On winter nights,

the cemeteries echo with the sound of metal cracking.

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