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Lisa Oritz has had poems published in Zyzzyva, Comstock Review, Literary Mama and Tryst , and she was a recipient of the 2007 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Award.  She lives in Northern California.

Day of the Dead

The plastic skeleton memory of you:
the snap of a branch and a cold wind--
pass that house with Halloween crap up,
and, God, it's nearly Thanksgiving--
imagine the ghoulish mask inside
a knife above the turkey, a wet and tattered
cape at the window and on the table gleams
such a perfect column of cranberry sauce.

Hold that fork this way
you said-- and then you died
and I hold my fork however I damn well please
though mostly the way you instructed.
See how I swallow my dinner.
Remember the way we keep terror inside.
It's a private thing- quiet,
covered like leftovers

lit blue by the fridge light:
the midnight hum and creak of my house now,
and down in Mexico families have picnics
in grave yards, trumpets and dancing.
Would you like it if I built an altar for you?
Here are candles and paper flowers.
Your skull is small and sweet and frosted:
something I could finish
in a single, sugared bite.

Copyright © 2007 Lisa Ortiz