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Keeping up with the Dead

Houdini, a lifelong foe of spiritualism, promised his wife, a believer, that if he were wrong and there was an afterlife he would come back and tell her.
All around, they multiply, push off from barrooms, lie down on railroad tracks, wreck automobiles. They tango out, fondling silk casket liners, their faces settled into rictus grins. I pretend not to notice. I say the dead donít overrun my street. I heal from the outside- in, a puncture wound of loss. Until I canít escape. The crowdís a laminate on the inside of my sunglasses, stacked like cordwood in my mindís backlot. Post mortem loved ones lack something. They donít remember after work, to pick up milk or make it to the kidís homeroom. Worse. Theyíll never lay a gauze of fingers on a sunburned arm or urge the sweaty hair back from my forehead with cool hands. Deceased theyíre useless as Houdini who, although he promised, once he passed could never make the sign.

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