The dead are always watching, with the whole
range of their undone lives, with every goal
they never met and every little deed
they left unfinished--staring with the need
of hungry children at the way we waste
the time they'll never have--yearning to taste,
just for a day or two, the scraps we throw
away, or leave behind, or never know.
The dead will trade eternity for one
brief minute in a body overrun
by cancer--they will sell their precious souls
to feel a flush of nausea as it rolls
over a drunkard--they will climb from hell
to spend five minutes in a death-row cell.
They see us lose what they would gladly die
to have again; they hear the way we lie
and tell ourselves that waiting is no crime
because we all assume that we have time
not only to do what we want, but to
put off the things that we could always do.
They look at us, and marvel at the ways
we find to squeeze the life out of the days
they'd kill to have. They beat against the walls
that separate them from the crowded halls
of the mundane; they scream that death's unfair.
And yet they're filled with hope and not despair--
for every time something within us dies,
they take a breath and open up their eyes.
Copyright 2012 Matthew J Wells