They're very close to us, the dead;
us in our taxis, them in their hearses,
waiting for the lights to change.
We give them precedence.
So close to us, unknown on television;
dead from hunger, earthquake, war,
suicide bomber, tsunami.
We count the numbers.
The famous dead — a double glamour —
we buy their music, movies, memoirs.
O! Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
in glorious technicolor.
In Venice, we glimpse the dead
drift to the island cemetery across the lagoon.
We float our gondolas along the green canals
and do not die.
--Carol Ann Duffy