Wesley Rothman • From The Book of the Living

The city of the dead is bloated
with life. People go on sowing
their gardens, repairing roofs,
and meeting for coffee in their
local café. Believe it or not,
it still rains, snows, sears
in the summer with nauseous
humidity. Children behave
or prank the neighbors, blow up
mailboxes, or sell pop on the corner.
There are police and politicians,
artists and biotechnicians; in all,
it’s your average town. Now
and again, new neighbors move in
to the blue two-story, or the brick
brownstone, sometimes single,
other times whole families.
The orphanage hosts a barbecue
every month, and people are eager
to adopt. Generosity is never absent
long. People do not die, nor
are they born. They come and go,
from and to where is never clear.
And the moon is always shining,
a blue comfort in our dark town.

Wesley Rothman’s poems and criticism have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. He teaches at Emerson College and the University of Massachusetts Boston.