Day of the Dead

Each year on November 2, as the Monarch butterfly arrives, thousands of people celebrate. This day-long ritual, which includes parades, picnics in cemeteries, and altars set up in the home, is an ancient festivity that joyfully celebrates the dead.

The street is suddenly loud.
Puppets share wine. A dog dressed
in a red gown growls.

Although there are children
they are not scared, like me.
They see skeletons come back alive
beating pots with wooden spoons.


Death is like that today:
a dark street night descends on.


At the bus station
a dead priest waves his hand,
an upside down cross against his chest.
Somehow these strangers from Bisbee,
Nogales and Tombstone
know to join us. They can hear the drum,
that voice of almost prayer.


From Some Nights No Cars at All (Copper Canyon Press, 2007).


Read on . . .

All Saints All Souls,” a poem by Ursula K. Le Guin


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