My Dead

They grow in number all the time

The cat, the Mother, the Father

The grandparents, aunts, and uncles


Those I knew well and hardly at all

My best friend from when I was ten

The guy who sat with me in the back


Of the class where the tall kids lived

Bill the Shoemaker from Lyndale Avenue

The Irish poet with rounded handwriting


They live in The Land of Echo, The Land 

Of Reverb, and I hear them between

The notes of the birds, the plash of the wave


On the smooth rocks. They show up

When I think of them, as if they always

Are waiting for me to remember


I drive by their empty houses

I put on their old sweaters and caps

I wear their wristwatches and spend


Their money. So now I'm in six places

At once—if not eighteen or twenty

So many places to be thinking of them


Strange how quiet they are with their presence

So humble in the low song they sing

Not expecting that anyone will listen 


by Tim Nolan, who lives in Minnesota. His forthcoming book is The Field, (New Rivers Press, October, 2016).