Comfort of the Dead
I dreamt of the dead last night, for the second time this week.
We were at a play that was being performed
in a big auditorium with red, white and blue seats.
He had arrived early.
He wasn’t high, he didn’t even have a beer with him.
He had arrived early, and was waiting for me. He even saved me a seat.
The show was sold out. It was a performance of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice –
(Once upon a time, he ground scored an entire pocket book collection of Shakespeare for me because he knew that I loved Shakespeare.)
I was running late, in self pity and despair.
Then the realization set in- Yes, Trump still had been elected president last week,
but he was still alive. He never had died.
He was alive and he was waiting for me in an auditorium
where we were going to watch a performance of A Merchant of Venice.
Some of my students were in the lobby handing out programs.
I panicked to find my seat. He wasn’t angry, he held my hand
and whispered in my ear that of course he would hold a seat for me,
he would always hold a seat for me.
He said all that he said when he was alive-
That his white last name did not matter,
he would always be proud of his brown skin.
It did not matter what the historians could or could dig up,
his family had been here since before there were borders,
before this was a even a state, and was just a place with a made up name.
“First we were generals and governors, then we were bad hombres.”
The only thing that had changed,
was that he no longer said anything about nihilism,
or wanting to watch the world burn.
The only thing he said he wanted to do was watch that play.
And as the curtain rose, he whispered in my ear,
“Aurelia Lorca, you of all people should know,
the play’s the thing to catch the conscience of a king.”
Aurelia Lorca is the pen-name of a woman from the borderlands of the Monterey Peninsula who has been motionless in the twist of time. Her writing largely focuses on questions of ethnicity and identity and often reassembles narratives from histories which have been forgotten as a way to remember.