Our Fragile Dead

They do not walk the world, our fragile dead:

They do not stalk our streets or pace our floors;

They do not stand behind unopened doors,

Rehearsing all the words that went unsaid.

They cannot walk our world as we would walk:

They cannot choose to see a much-missed place,

They cannot choose to see a much-loved face;

They cannot seek a quiet spot to talk.

And so we have to walk the world for them:

We have to seek the sacred places out,

To pace the lonely ways of loss and doubt,

And stumble clumsily to Bethlehem.

But sometimes on that road, they’ll take our hand,

And squeeze our palm to say, ‘I understand’.