Bones Likely Those of an 1800s Pauper

                                     —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Scant news you bring us, Pauper,
tibia shard and a sliver of femur.
Unearthed mid-day, mid-July,
riddled and leached. Scooped
in a tangle of locust root.
A palmful. Anyone's guess.

Sometimes, briefly, the dead return.
We lend them our voices,
ask them for signs. Restless
sleepers, somnambulists,
they dream for us the face of God.

Nothing for it, Pauper, but to tuck
you back—archived, re-interred—-
contained now and quieted,
as if finding changes anything.

—Diane Unterweger, Nashotah, WI