hungry for something it can’t name.

Owen keeps asking what
happens to his body

when he dies, what happens
inside the body,

and I tell him
all your organs slow

down, your lungs and
heart, your liver,

and the blood in your body
stops moving

around your body, until
everything stops

and become quiet and
rests. he wants to know

if it’s the same thing
for birds and when birds

die what happens to their
feathers, if the feathers

stay up in the sky and what
is a wolf, he wants

to know, and can it eat us.
He says that some things

come back after they die
but we don’t want

them to. No, I say,
sometimes that’s all

we want. No matter what.
For someone

we loved to come back
no matter how terrible

or painful it might
be. His older brother,

Hamza, is alone in his room
again, lying very still

on his bed working out
the compass of being

a teenager on his
Nintendo. I want to

take both boys out
into the yard and have

them bathe their feet
in the October grass.

Pull the cold air over
them like a woolen overcoat.

But I need to get dinner
going and I need to

grab the clothes from
the dryer and fold

them. I don’t know
how I will get the house

cleaned up before it’s
time for bed. Before

I became a father my
greatest fear was dying

in a plane crash, the
plane stalling through

a cloud of birds. Now
I sit at a kitchen table

and stare and stare
at the gas bill

like looking out
the window at a car

on fire. Sometimes
I want to be a ghost

or a vampire, a zombie
slowly walking over a hill,

hungry for something
it can’t name but,

with arms outstretched,
begs for anyway.




ALL HALLOW’S EVE, Matthew Dickman

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