The dead multiplied and the soil was fed.
While we said to them: “You righteous servants, don’t die all on one side!”
While we said to them: “Think of the soil’s power!”
No earth, not any earth can take in this amount of stale bones and flesh.
The dead must discover the necessary good manners and patience.
The righteous dead must stand in peaceable and organised ranks.
The dead must cooperate. They must trust the efficiency of their gods. They must listen to the mob, the unbelievers and the poets of lost time.
The dead must be content. They must trust to the shepherds of their ghosts, for a long while or short, so as to be led to the grave together, each according to their ability, each according to the weight of their corpse, each according to their blood group, their baptism date and the sequence of their national identity number.
The dead must believe that the gods will not put them to death to be buried in living nakedness.
And, pending the acquisition of new land, new cemeteries and the darknesses of new eternities,
the dead must wait their turn for burial.
The dead must be well behaved.
Poet's Note: Read by Asad Jaber at the Poetry International Festival, Rotterdam, June 2011