Elegy for the Undead
by Zedekiah Gonsalves Schild
The first time my father came back from the dead
He asked for ceviche and cinnamon soda.
He bared his teeth and snarled at his sister,
We pulled wires from his neck and chest.
Tethered, sedated, air-conditioned, and still
He buzzed, like a Sonoran Desert cicada
Steel and prism green, a walking stone
Unfolding from his exoskeleton, he left
A dry shell attached to the polyester hospital gown.
From the tall, shaded branches of a Palo Verde tree
That thrashed against the hospital window bending
In the August monsoon thunder,
He fell back to earth and shocked us with his tears,
Dislodged the tube from his throat, then slept for seventeen years
Dry and waiting to crawl out of himself, into breath
Into rain, through medicine, into now, and death
When the time is right.