“‘Mother, why do you not stay still when I would embrace you? If we could throw our arms around one another we might find sad comfort in the sharing of our sorrows...” (The Odyssey, book 11, trans. Samuel Butler) We can only meet now in stories, living and dead. We cannot speak, we cannot touch, but we are still bound. We trade image and memory, shuffling the deck, Pulling cards to tell our fates. I miss her but I cannot touch her, I cannot speak to her. She is as close to me as my skin, but she is not with me. I miss her, but the land of death is broad and cold And I cannot make that journey yet. We meet now in stories, in recollections, in small abstractions. Words and images are all; things borrowed from centuries-worth of other ghosts. Poetry and memory seal us and cross our lives. We are bound, living and dead. I cannot move my tongue to speak, or my hand to touch her, So I move my pen. If I cannot hold her in my arms once more, I will weave a temporary cage of syllable and line To hold her shade in the space of a breath. I can trace a spell to keep her with me for a merciful moment only. She is bound to me in life, in death. She is my spirit, my cross. For only a breath can I look through the dissolving gate of incantation And see her living self once more. I cannot touch my love again, Nor do I have a tongue to speak to her. But I can move her mind And gently haunt her, giving her memories and dreams. Dead and living, we are bound, crossed, and sealed in these silent words; We meet in the abstractions that only the dead can truly speak - Only the dead and their loves. We trade in ancient symbols, Sentiments stolen from the centuries I now face. I miss her, but the land of life is sharp and hot And I cannot make that journey again. I cannot touch her. I cannot even speak to her, Close as I am, closer than the memory of skin. We pull cards to tell our fates, having shuffled the deck before. We trade in memory and precious image, bound we remain. We cannot touch, we cannot speak. Dead and living, We can only meet in stories.