PoetryIssue 11 | January 2011

Raising the Dead

by Ian Khadan

in memory of Praim-Vishal Singh

if not the ankles
then start with the knees
the dead will need their legs
bring the bones back from broomsticks
and mold clay in to muscle
consider the potter’s symmetry

solder sinew at each joint in brass
these legs should absorb
like the ripe silica liver
like the suppressive conscience
if you fancy a conscience
any two-sided coin will suffice
secure this with nylon
near what will be called the chest
                     
snake the copper-wire nerves back to a spine
to raise the dead you will need a spine
a ladder will do

knot each rung with bootstraps or shoelaces
whichever texture best suits the ribs
the ribs the Gatling series of triggers
fastened amidst the precious organs
the sandbag kidneys
the garden hose intestines
the wasp’s nest lungs
humming a breath violin

this is how the dead rise

rip the glass from out your bathroom mirror
and bind the wood-rich frame
with every rubber band you own
pound it with a hammer
they must flex and bend
know how to hold and break

slide five pieces of lead and a matchbox in to each end
to love, the dead need only heat and hands

shuffle through every photo album
you’ve ever assembled
and cut the faces
from out their pages
create a collage of familiar
on the inside of a fish bowl

this is what the dead resembles

the nose a best friend who bloodied your own
the ears of nights that taught you song
the eyes of lovers you cannot forget

the dead grins this haunting

if you desire a brain
use a shotgun

give the dead a voice

shred the pages of your favorite book
a diary
a bad report card
and burn the remains
capture a cricket
and toss it in to the flames
watch it die
seal the ashes in a tiny glass jar
and seance

this is what the dead will say

give me a heart
something you call precious
place it in my chest
and carve a small hole
exposing its workings
now your blood
just a few drops of blood
take a blade and squeeze
funnel it from the palm of your hands
just a few drops of blood
this is you I will be you

I will be you

this is what the dead will plead
remember them let them plead
remember them as they were the light the bridge
the spark the heave the tunnel the push the fight
the clutch the rise the gift the bark the bold
this is you remember them

give them life
and they will walk amongst the living

About the author

Ian Khadan was born in Georgetown, Guyana. His poetry has been featured in The Eudaimonia Poetry Review, The Foundling Review, and SUSS. In his spare time he bathes with manatees and likes to pretend he’s a lion.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok