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Isles of the Dead

If you dig down far enough
you find the ones whose lives collapsed
on them.
          In the banquet hall, Denise
stooped to retrieve a spoon, and the whole
service gave way. Rita was caught
drinking too deeply of somebody else’s
dregs, so the life drained out of her.
And here’s Donna, still gnawing
on an ex-boyfriend’s ankle.

On this island – well, actually,
a warming table – they crouch among
the breaded cutlets,
         and in the passageway,
a slightest breeze from outside stirs
up dust, a poof
of mummied uniforms
under crumbled ceilings as lasting
as pastry shells.

They lift the airy stone-
ware of their lives and come
walking after me.