Fall 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1991 |

Mother of Shrines

Mother has paid tribute to her dead relativeswith shrines-candles, plastic flowers, plastic saints, set on altars draped with lace doilies and satin—since time immemorial. The real motives for this hobby? Could it be genetic: some ancient impulse to preserve the remainsof loved ones against decay, against Satan? In return the dead are empathic, and can be called upon in times of need. After all, some of the dead were real brains; they're flattered you seek their superior reason. And they're bored-can't read, can't feed, can't breed. So, it's a racket. What isn't these days? Light a candle, close your eyes. Call out a name.

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