You Bring Out the Dead in Me
Not the living dead but the dead dead: the righteous dead who have waited for the pale horse so they can stop being so dead. You call forth the callused fingers of Johnny Cash softened during June-less weeks to my deadened surface. Everywhere, my skin is whirlpools of fingertips regaining sensation, waiting. You bring out all of the dead white men in me—entire anthologies of them, my spine cracking like a loose canon. Whitman & multitudes of dead or dying soldiers, Keats & Fanny, Hopkins & God all crowd up inside me, electric wires writhing. You rewind me to the moment the dead first began to outnumber the living, when Lazarus returned to tip the scales back, to stave off the inevitable. In the invisible cities of the dead, I walk star-lined streets, multiplied beyond endurance. You have resurrected the Rita Hayworth in me, the Mae West. And we all rise up, as good as dead.