Tuesday Poem

Beyond Recall

Nothing matters
to the dead,
that’s what’s hard

for the rest of us
to take in—
their complete indifference

to our enticements,
our attempts to get in touch—
they aren’t observing us

from a discreet distance,
they aren’t listening
to a word we say—

you know that,
but you don’t believe it,
even deep in a cave

you don’t believe
in total darkness,
you keep waiting

for your eyes to adjust
and reveal your hand
in front of your face—

so how long a silence
will it take to convince us
that we’re the ones

who no longer exist,
as far as X is concerned,
and Y, that they’ve forgotten

every little thing
they knew about us,
what we told them

and what we didn’t
have to, even our names
mean nothing to them

now—our throats ache
with all we might have said
the next time we saw them.

by Sharon Bryan
from Poetry 180
Random House, 2003