What do the living know

about the dead? I was called upon

to wonder when the well-meaning

camp director’s wife who knew

parts of my family asked

where I stood in relation

to the brother who’d died, she had heard.

Died? I said. Yes, I believe, cancer,

she said. Oh, I said, that,

I believe, was me, and I am yet”

even taking odd pleasure along

with the pang of being a ghost”

among the living.

(What do, after all, the living

know about the dead, me included?)

James Andrew Miller is author of “Other Plans: Journal of an Illness,” FT, March.