There are days when we’re too busy for the dead.
Then, they wait in city parks under the thin strips
of the willow’s branches, beside the ponds
teeming with plump, speckled koi. The dead count
the number of ants that crawl across half-eaten
apples and watch the mirrored doors that take us in.
They don’t feel the heat — the sun to them is just a disk,
something they remember as the color yellow
against the color blue. The impatient ones
rip the stitches from their lips. Hunger lingers
as a cough in the back of the throat, something acid
in the belly. The dead adjust to lighter bodies.
At night they disconnect our phone lines
and swallow the startled voices on either end.
Sandy Longhorn lives in Little Rock, AR. Recent poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Connecticut Review, Fugue, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, and elsewhere. Her manuscript, Blood Almanac, won the 2005 Anhinga Prize for Poetry and will be published by Anhinga Press in Fall 2006.