The Dead Send Dreams

Joan McBride

From the opera Die tote Stadt

They send dreams like overdue bills
or flowers from the shop near the rendering plant,
posies stinking of chrysanthemums,
a bundle of broken stems and frozen buds
of the palest coral that will never open
never unfold.

The dead send dreams in a
surprise package left at your door.
The label is to you but the return
address unclear and smudged to
unattainable. And when you shake the box
it rattles like broken glass so
it sits on the porch until winter.

They send dreams on moonlight
to the bier of a tangled bed
where hands are twisted
in a pall of night clothes and covers.
And in the breathless morning
you almost remember
the dream when you stare into
the shattered face in the mirror.

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