It was 2pm when my cousin casually resurrected the dead;
he flicked a screen on his phone and up came a video
of grandma in her pink pyjamas
with the metal spider, her walker, in front of her
and her cobweb-grey hair spiralling up in wisps
and the sound of laughter rocketing out the speakers
and he said, ‘Look, your mum gave her a joint’, and cracked up
but I didn’t care, was stunned to see her alive again
so soon, so unexpectedly.
She never had a Twitter.
Never had a Facebook or Instagram.
She was analog; the world digital. Yet
here she was, snared in my cousin’s hands
a stolen moment from her last days. I wonder
if, deep down in her hole in the ground
she is aware of a gap in her memory,
a cut in continuity where that scene once stood
and if we the living have our own blank spaces
where the dead retain whole days
of our interactions in their cold, dirty hands.
Once, you had to eat the moon’s heart
and sacrifice to the sun’s wintry smile
and dance till your hips ached with forgotten grace;
you had to milk the stars and chant the old words
(the words of being and making, of love and hate)
you had to crack open the world
and pinch the Earth’s spread-eagled thighs,
you had to climb the mountains of yesteryear
and swim in the oceans of tomorrow
where the seer-salmons fly into inevitable jaws;
you had to spill your seed into a man and a woman
to cross the Great Divide, and still more
to make animate dead flesh, and now
all it takes is the click of a button.
We have torn down the veil between life, and after,
wrapped it into the spaces between us, strung aloft
by telephone poles and satellites spinning amidst scrapheap
suns and junkyard planets. We call it a Net and weave
careful ones and zeroes into replicas of our selves
to keep the greedy earth from claiming our bones;
we have virtual graves now, eternal and open
to the 3D-rendered sun and wind and our own personal God
to watch over us in our compartmentalised Heavens.
The living will never again be able to put us away;
to cover our eyes with soil and hide our hearts in boxes.
We will never be silenced in the brief span of their years,
and they will never again be at ease
knowing we might at any moment pop-up
in their newsfeed, resurrected by a Like
or Retweet, or casual, careless cousin.