Parallel

boats on the marshThe dead are never really dead.
Their world runs parallel,
half here, half not,
a double exposure.
We box up life for our convenience,
but they come and go
on some indiscernible whim,
lean over our shoulders,
interject in conversations,
and visit their old haunts, nostalgic.

When my niece was barely three,
she saw my father in the bordering marshes,
wearing his hip high boots,
feeding the widowed swan.
Dad looked up and waved.
Katie waved back excitedly.
We told her she was wrong.
It was impossible.
But that evening we stood by the window
a long time watching.

Definition makes the world safe,
keeps it all in place;
But when we sleep, I suspect
we too break with convention,
trespass protocol and time zones
to wander about in the nebulous parallel.
Perhaps to them we seem transparent,
thin, half there, half not.
In the morning we say it was a dream,
we’ve been somewhere;
the places and names we can’t recall,
but on the tip of our mind, something,
something ever so near, everywhere,
and gone.

Copyright © 2000 Susan Dane • All rights reserved.
Selection from GOOD-BYE TO WHITE KNIGHTS and other moving vehicles—V. From the Other Side.