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Rafael Turrubia

The Dead

Rafael Turrubia

after Edwin Morgan
Like distant ships in mist, or bells
the ghosts of the dead are leaving at last
unskeined
every filament of their bodies given up to sea foam
or wandering onwards to light
your late father’s hands and his tartan legs
vanish in a spray of gulls
your mother stoops regretfully below a cormorant’s wing,
before leaving
the sky unspools for them, these dead
their feet still damp from river water
crumbs still on their lips
the sky unspools for them and
they do their best to leave
or to make their leaving seem like a half-closed door
your small brother ducks beneath the prow of a tug boat
floats until the propeller spin drags him under
leaves as little bubbles of light
laughing
Like distant bells or ships in mist
the ghosts of the dead are leaving
and the quiet behind them does nothing
to mark their passing
just moves in the kelp on the seashore
on the wings of gulls
and down the backs of buildings
as the city slides to night

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