Thursday, June 05, 2008

When the Dead Were Young

For Frank Stanford

Walking through a city cemetery I stopped to read every one of
the hundred or so weathered headstones.

A small airplane buzzed the horizon,
just close enough to panic the leaves on top of the trees.

I picked up a stone and threw it towards the sun,
poked at the eyes of a decomposing bird.

The gravediggers watched me while drinking beers and smoking cigarettes
on their lunch break. A station wagon drove up a gravel drive

to wooden marker shaped like a fist. It had a sad lean.
A boy and his mother exited the parked car. They brought flowers and

a goat’s head to the site which had no name or dates. I remembered
that one because I had almost tripped over it walking to the outhouse.

The boy removed toy soldiers from his pockets,
positioned them on the banks of a puddle.

The woman cried.
She looked deep into the sky above, made the sign of the cross.

The boy spotted me, smiled and jumped into the puddle.
Splashes of water hit his mother, dripped down

her bare legs.
I looked around, but the gravediggers were gone.

The two got back into the station wagon and headed to the road.
I was left there, living alone.

***This is supposed to be in couplets***


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