Listening for Lost People

Denise Riley

Still looking for lost people – look unrelentingly.
‘They died’ is not an utterance in the syntax of life
Where they belonged, no belong – reanimate them
Not minding if the still living turn away, casually.
Winds ruck up its skin so the sea tilts from red-blue
To blue-red: into the puckering water go his ashes
Who was steadier than these elements. Thickness
Of some surviving thing that sits there, bland. Its
Owner’s gone nor does the idiot howl – while I’m
Unquiet as a talkative ear. Spring heat, a cherry
Tree’s fresh bronze leaves fan out and gleam – to
Converse with shades, yourself become a shadow.
The souls of the dead are the spirit of language:
You hear them alight inside that spoken thought.