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They show up in dreams as I shop for flower
pots, or peer down from above, crowded
by golden angels, or arrive in my study
like silent thunder. Tell my mother I’m fine,
they insist,

or, Tell my children not to cry, I’m in Heaven, or,
Say I’m with them all the time. The messages
I sent to families met with silence, even anger;
my courage faltered. The dead review
their lives and see

things in new ways, though they lose interest
in earthly doings and come rarely.
Last night my husband came from a place
or time so distant, he was the faintest
signal, light

from a burned-out star. He couldn’t
speak at first, but finally in a whisper
said, I’m sorry. In life he’d thought
I didn’t love him, and gouged me
with words

and withered me with silence, but now at last
he knew I cared. My old friend Kathy,
gone twelve years, came too, an angel
in a long robe, gray-blue, with curly hair
and wings of paper mache

the color of antique brass. She blessed her children,
leaving them at last. She had asked me to tell
them she was there, but I never did. She forgave me,
glided past the steeple of an old church and said,
I am at peace.