Led by a mule-drawn wagon
carrying the elderly,
it moves toward the cemetery
like a dark, turgid river
glinting here and there
with tinsel and little candles.
Irene and Helga walk behind
the wagon, clad in black dresses,
smiling beneath their masks of skulls.
The children are laughing,
rattling toy caskets and skeletons,
their cheeks smeared with the icing
of sugar skulls. In joyous
solemnity, the living walk,
erasing with each, sure step
the specious border between life
and death. Laden with food,
incense, mementoes, blood-red roses,
and flickering candles, they walk,
followed by children clutching
pots of marigolds glowing
in the incipient darkness
like armloads of harmless fire.