In the dream I had when he came back not sick
but whole, and wearing his winter coat,
he looked at me as though he couldn't speak, as if
there were a law against it, a membrane he couldn't break
His silence was what he could not
not do, like our breathing in this world, like our living
as we do, in time.
And I told him: I'm reading all this Buddhist stuff,
and listen, we don't die when we die. Death is an event,
a threshold we pass through. We go on and on
and into light forever.
And he looked down, and then back up at me. It was the look
across the table when Dad was drunk again and dangerous,
the level look that wants to tell you something,
in a crowded room, something important, and can't.
2007: Poetry by Marianne Moore