What The Dead Don’t Need

I just read this poem in The Sun. It makes me want to write.

by Faith Shearin

No need for shoes, of course, or closets full of empty
dresses. No need for the shade of trees or the approval
of parents and friends. They don’t care about the objects
of this world: a new computer, a house overlooking
the sea. The place they occupy may or may not contain
a window to all they’ve left behind. We, the living, think
of them without knowing who or what they have become.
Ghosts? Dust? Butterflies? Wind? Other mysteries —
puberty, sex, childbirth — are the business of life, and
anyone can tell their story. On the matter of death: only
a closed box and the silence of earth or ashes. When my
daughter was small, my disappearance behind a blanket
or curtain seemed permanent. How could I exist if
I was not visible? When I returned, she was grateful:
laughter and kisses, her hand on the roots of my hair.

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