“The dead are holding something back”, he said,
But I knew not what he meant.
Do those who have departed harbor secrets they won’t share?
Or did he mean to say that they stand on guard, preventing
Some evil from entering here within?
“Holding something back”, the way a dam holds back a flood,
Or the way a spy refuses to divulge his source,
The way a curtain blocks the morning sun from intruding on my sleep too soon,
Or the way you don’t tell me the bad news?
Do we, the living, owe the dead a debt of gratitude
For sheltering us from some devastating disaster,
Or do they conceal from us some truth that would
Ease the pain of this tragic existence?
Or is there, perhaps, no difference between the two?