The Dead now make their pilgrimage
Back to their homes, back to our side.
I hear their laughter on the wind
For they return as butterflies.
Come, come! Beloved ones, come back!
Come spend a night beneath our roof,
Come eat our bread and drink our wine,
Come make the candles dance as proof
That you have not forgotten us,
You still remember how to dance
Though you no longer have your feet.
Come buss our cheeks and clasp our hands
For we have not forgotten you.
Come tell us of the place you've been,
What you eat and drink and do there
And what it's like to shed your skin.
And for those lost and hungry souls
I place some bread outside my door.
Godspeed, you pilgrims, hurry on
To homes that are your homes no more.
E. D. Watson
From the cave I walked into the darkness
I once called day, and gagged upon the smells.
My sisters wore the ashes of distress;
I loosened my shroud and poor Martha fell.
I despaired to find myself back in hell,
some error had returned me to the world
of dull-eyed beasts, of shit and dust and filth.
I had not missed them once, those wailing girls.
And then I saw the one they call The Pearl,
saw in his eyes he knew what he had done.
He unbound me—our single grief unfurled—
But offered me no succor; there was none.
I cried out for the starlit place I’d been.
This is your cross, he said. To live again.
Like a cooling pot returned to the hearth,
My bones began once more to simmer.
I felt the pain again, though now less sharp
And kept my eyes shut, to not lose the glimmer
Of where I’d just been, its whirl and shimmer.
But it melted like the moon into dawn,
Replaced by a voice that I remembered
As the one I’d followed back here. I yawned;
My mother gasped. My spirit fought the one
Who held the kite-string of my soul and pulled.
He said a bit of broth would hold me down.
I tried to say I was already full.
Now Mother sews and says I’ll marry
And forget, in time, that place I tarried.
by E. D. Watson