The Dead


You still feel him.
You flinch at sharp words,
loud noises.
You leave the lights on,
wake with a start when
a car speeds by.

six feet in the hallowed soil,
a crucifix,
a blessing,
should keep him.

Yet you still feel
his grip on your spine
and your face radiates
the heat of his hand.

Not everything dead
stays in the ground.

Some nights you shift
as though still expecting
the turn and slap of the door
and warm tequila breathe
on your neck.

Burn it down.
Salt the earth.

Keep flowers on stone,
hands wrapped in prayer.
Let the pictures wilt,
the bottles gather dust.

Take head. Take care.
Fire, Salt.

Not everything buried stays underground,
and a bullet squeezed through temple
can’t always keep the dead,