Breakfast with the Dead

I woke up late, well after the dead
had had their café con leche.
They’d been arguing
about the world,
what it was, what it would be.
I cracked an egg to cook
when a dead child
tugged on my pajama,
“Write something pretty
about me. Please, will you?”
I could only offer her
some toasted bread.
I didn’t mean to cry,
but I was so tired
from entertaining them.
The dead sat awkward
and watched me as I apologized.
I said softly, “Please,
I want to go back to bed.”
A stark-haired woman,
more shadow than dead,
held my chin—
does she want to kiss me?
I closed my eyes and puckered up.
“Honey, you may be living,
but you’re also in my way.”
The dead laughed
as I stood helpless.