How to Know When the Dead Are Dead.

Author:Estes, Angie
Position:FOUR POEMS - Poem
 
FREE EXCERPT

Some crimes of early modern Europe were specific to the night: keeping a public house open too late, disturbing the peace, lantern smashing, dueling at dusk or dawn, grave robbing, and walking without a light. So fireflies, rising like embers from the earth, members of the family Lampyridae , Greek for "shining ones," still blink their way through the night. Although they obey God's first command, when the lights go out do they stay? Upon election, the Pope takes a new name, his old Christian name never heard in the Vatican again until he lies dead: the chamberlain then comes to his side and calls him three times by the name he once bore. To be sure the dead are dead, Greeks would cut off a...

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