Also, on the Day of the Dead, I’ve been dwelling on my beloveds departed, which makes me tearful. So I went for the onions instead of the Kleenex and read over the poem I wrote for cousin Suzie, which, now that I read it again, stands for how I feel about all my loved ones lost. To God I feel selfish for them back.
After she departed,
I went home and watched
a cup of tea steam.
Water curled round to air.
Grey ribbon tendrils
like soft hair blown on a pillow
off the surface of things.
As if the seething
crust of water and sand
had grown too close, too sate,
too teamed with rattle and moan.
Sick of jostle, the wisps of her flew.
On curled vapors she
lengthened. Suspending slow, up
around and around her gown,
a fume, a shroud twirled and blew.
It was not clear
in the tea steam
dripping like a backward tear into my eyes
it was not clear
between Heaven and Earth
or between God and me
on their end of her
Onion Wheat Bread
For those crying and for those who need help crying on the Day of the Dead
Make this sponge and let sit out, covered, for two or three hours
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
Then, to make the dough, include all the sponge, with 1 ½ tsp salt, ¼ cup water, 2 cups flour (I did one white, one wheat), and the onion mixture you sauted in the beginning, now cool. Fold half or 2/3 of the onions like so.
I decided to make rolls, because I didn’t have much time to let them bake. I allowed the rolls to rise for an hour, and baked them at 400 for 15 minutes. If you were to do a big loaf, allow to rise until doubled and bake at 400 for 35 minutes. Also, before you throw them in to bake, glaze with water and add the rest of the onions on top. Bake and cry.
Then paint, play music and dance. Crying optional. As it goes, “In the midst of life we are in death.” Latin America picks up their feet, and New Orleans picks up their trombones. And as for me, I rattle my bones.
If you look carefully at my painting, which has no official title, perhaps Lacrimosa Shindig, there are red notes coming out of the violin held by the skeleton in the lower right quadrant. I don’t know that it means anything, but it delights me. In the midst of life we are in death; in the midst of death, there is life.