Lifestyles of the Dead

The dead set their alarms for moonrise and get up
before the buzzers spend their tiny silver seeds.
They feed the crickets flakes of pallid skin,
polish what’s left of the baroque brass handles.
Stepping into shrouds of secondhand light,
shoeless and cold, they follow forgotten foxpaths
through wasted fields.

When they get to town, they drift apart,
to walk up and down the blank sidewalk
in front of a new bank, stand peering
into a dark window in a vacant house, climb
stairs over and over that are no longer there.
They wear oily rags found in gutters, shreds
of crumpled black plastic, and lost overcoats
whose pockets they fill with all the feathers
they can find.

©2004 F.J. Bergmann

"Lifestyles of the Dead" appeared in Margie–The American Journal of Poetry #4

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