Living Language Byron Hoot Every time I say, “I’m done talking with the dead.” another conversation begins from some snag of a memory the size of a hangnail barely seen. There’s no way for these conversations not to occur. They wait in ambush at the places where silence has claimed, echoes hesitate to enter -- suddenly the language of the dead is living once again. I have tried to put guards at the borders of the living and the dead but they are not ghost watchers, can’t read the invisible invitation of a feeling or word or thought that is so much more than it appears to be. I used to pretend the language never changed, they couldn’t speak in the present tense, but I was lying, refusing to believe what they had to say, that language is always living even from the mouths of the dead. So I’ve decided that listening is the best thing to do, maybe if heard once, their visits will be fewer, the way hearing what someone has to say satisfies in ways words can’t express. Truth to tell, I’ve started to look forward to what they say.