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.