Gabriel Fried


The dead come clean and curious,

without the pulse the living have


to argue. Impeccable in washed-out

seersucker, smelling of peppercorns


and copper, they traipse their hems

through grass they cut themselves,


along the lawns where they spend days.

They almost walk with purpose


toward the tent-fold, soft  as bakers

or flightless birds who’ve known no predator.


But nothing is unanswered anymore.

They each have just the one question, a hair


in their peripheral vision, barely noticed

underneath the pale, flat sun that has now risen,


that no one noticed set. Inside the tent,

the patient dead all find their seats and wait.



“Processional” is reprinted from Making the New Lamb Take (2007) by permission of Sarabande Books.