I Confuse the Dead Man,

his bony chin playing the washboardof his knuckles as he thinks me over. He sends moths to burn in the lamp, his hollow eyes fixed from the rocking chair, his teeth, bleached monuments.

Dead men don’t have tongues, some god keeps those for himself. Forget the soul, it’s overrated: you should see this god’s long cape of squirming pronunciations.

I ask the dead man if the rain falling outside is my ancestors running into gutters. There are two cracks running like thoughts at the base of his skull. Time moves in sputters and stops. The room fills with the

sounds of his dry creaking joints as he stands, his jaw moves in words he lacks the tongue to pronounce.