What the Dead Keep
by Sophie Weiner

Runestone, volume 2

What the Dead Keep
                    after Tolkien

Non-honorous, a lack
of academe, intact and most
opposed of floating heads
she huffs a tulle of smoke:
The sonorous, snorous…
she says “call me Dolores”
and something else that is,
to be frank, a bit more
honest (Pig).

She sorrows and refracts.
Talks mostly to herself
she frets, except when comes
a tum-tum  tum-tum
someone punching the ground
a cool animal skin
stretched firm.

An old friend, she thinks,
must be near, and picks up
the stick and the drum.
And the stick in her ear she postures

“If there is anyone here
please, I have something to say
And let me be clear, is that okay
with you? Hello? With you?”

And what Dolores hears suggests
no one coming around.

Such ire she has! and sits stumped
stunned at this failed, this utter…un-
decodable muttering
un-transmittable mess. Evocative,
she knocks tum-tum  tum-tum
and charms from the grave
that many-storied man. Grim,
a worm-tongue claps the dead’s lips:

Late is the hour in which
this conjuror chooses to appear.

She pauses. She chooses
to appear. She stops, appears
again. She opens the mouth of the dead
and sticks her head inside.

How strange to be here and
yet to be absent!
From the rigor-mortis jaw
she pries an answer long unrequested:

The way is shut. It was made
by those who are dead.

He casts a line. It sticks in her head.
She begins to feel synonymous. Welladay,
alas!—in a fix, she guesses, for animal flesh—
“The dead keep nothing,” she persists.
“Ill news,” she beefs, “ill guest.”


Towson University

Sophie Weiner is from Baltimore, Maryland. She is a graduating senior at Towson University, where she studies English. She has worked on university’s literary magazine, Grub Street, as part of the poetry staff, and is currently working on a creative thesis under poet and professor, Leslie Harrison. In the fall of 2016, she will be a first-year poet in the University of Kentucky’s MFA program.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This