–       After an NPR interview with the author of Smile Stealers  

I don’t believe we are dead
but there is anonymity to our dreams,
like the dead, like spirits fleeing
the body, each visitation
a careful return  —  broken in pieces,
an examination of individual parts (some
bearing delayed response, some) stiffened
by rigor mortis, cold to the touch, the face
concealed until all else can be

I cannot believe we are dead,
so I set aside the work of the physician,
(of the Head), so far removed (from the Hand),
from the surgeon, shouldering the shudder
and what lies beneath formality and a sheet,
a thousand tiny incisions/the crackling of structure
to discover what might remain, meticulously
weighing   __the tissues__
lost to disease, to entropy,
to time.  

This is not an autopsy; we are not dead.
Dreams shiver depths far deeper
than memory.  But the Head remains
covered in quietus, quieted by
the Work.

In this way, I can pretend
to understand   how

the soul can wander
testing mortality and what
yet remains.