Captive Dead

I sit there on a brick wall that forms
a boundary between someone’s front yard
and the sidewalk.

It is dark out
and I can’t stop thinking about
the stumbled words that break
in my memory like shattering glass.

These days are cloudless, but still cold.
The news is old and we no longer
look each other in the eyes.

The jeweler behind the dim store front,
down the street from me, inspects
his merchandise through a silver
monocular, but he is so high off the polish,
he can no longer tell which gem
has greater value.

Above the graveyard there is a specter
that wipes its glowing hands on dying trees.
It keeps the souls of my town’s dead
where they are; using a combination
of intimidation and trickery.

It looks like any other person,
but with a body of hollow green light,
and on its head it wears a paper bag
with a tear that leaks endless yellow fog.

Even from behind its mask I feel
it’s eyes latch on to me, so I approach it,
and speak directly to its face.

If you have something to say then just say it,
don’t pass it off and never bear the weight.
The coffins below us could hear me,
still asleep but with dreams of escape.

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