Listen to Peter Campion reading this poem. In the dream where the dead return but never speak they sauntered up the lawn: my mother's father and our neighbor who was shot in the robbery.
Maple branches twisting between the houses
scattered sun on their skin. And it didn't feel
like an afterlife: bathed in silver shade
and tennis shirts, they were just two other people
with those stippled faces mere will had not remembered.
The sunrise, when birdcries from the roof
shattered the airshaft, was catastrophe.
Then minutes afterwards, I was standing
pulling the chalky paste across my teeth.
Peter Campion is the author of two collections of poems, Other People (2005) and The Lions (2009) both from the University of Chicago Press. He teaches in the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Minnesota.
Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.To submit poetry to Slate, send up to five poems and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Robert Pinsky, Slate Magazine, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA, 02215.