The Cresset
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Day of the Dead, Michoacán
Jeffrey Galbraith (bio)

She takes me to a cemetery over roads
lined with stone walls that lilting flowers top
and spill over, bougainvilleas

battling the wind. We discuss hair
and its embellishments because she’s
in beauty school and wants

to brush and color me.
I’d rather she loan me her clothes,
add red to my lips,

and I’ll be plush and flit
around the moonlit, somber tombs.
Isn’t this a holiday? Where are the pumpkins?

I’m bored with walking, so she pulls out
our snack: cookies shaped like skulls
with proper, frosted names—

the hairless, sugared heads of relatives.
I taste the icing of a crumbling
brow—not bad—of someone she says

I’ll meet tonight. The person in my teeth
melts like a wafer, an accepted
invitation to the party later, to meet

the baldness of death, as the wind
nudges us up to the cemetery, running
its tongue around my head.

 

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