All Their Awful Particles
I am calling up the dead—the dead of my family.
I pull them out of the earth by their hair, by the fistful.
I scrutinize their bodies, green as acid, for traces of mine.
How can I stop looking at them?
At their faces?
Their bones strung together
are the beads of a necklace
I wind around my neck.
Their lives pour into me through a silver faucet
I cannot turn off. Their deaths, too—
the familial sickness.
Surely it has congealed within me,
all their awful particles.
Surely I have been marked.
If I were the firstborn, mystical or clean
like a sheet of cotton twisting in the wind—
I am a piece of slate stained,
scarred with footprints of the dead.
Are they confessing what they’ve done
to make me?
They lay their hands on me
like strips of seaweed.
When I place my mouth at my feet,
unable to speak,
I feel their malformed sadness run through my hair like a comb.