Meditation on Graveshttps://i1.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_6433.jpg?fit=1920%2C1438&ssl=119201438Matthew EarlyMatthew Earlyhttps://i2.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/January-2019-Author-Photo.jpg?fit=96%2C96&ssl=1
If a word is repeated enough in the same spot,
it lingers like dew on limp flora.
I once saw the ivied headstone of a baby,
and wondered how many visits it took
before guilt’s quota was met and faded
into granite etchings.
I heard smothered––saw it, steamy
like the train exhaust fogging up the site.
A dying squirrel decided the rotted grave blanket
wouldn’t keep the baby warm this season.
Siblings nearby carved sorry into the December-fresh plot
of the father they now found time to visit,
and hoped their pleas would take root like their flowers.
I used to wonder why people take care of graves.
Now I realize I’m fortunate.
I have no apologies to plant as perennials,
no remorse for roots to funnel down six feet like
a muffled cup-string telephone.
I watch them sprout those hanging words,
and now I ask:
do the dead hear our prayers,
or do they take the browning on their plots as answer enough?
Matthew Early is a poet from Columbus, Ohio. He holds a BA from Muskingum University, and is currently pursuing his MFA in creative writing at Butler University. He is the recipient of the 2018 Beulah Brooks Brown Award in Poetry. His work has also been featured on The Academy of American Poetsonline website, Poets.org. His work has been published in Echo, and First Circle, and he has placed in several collegiate literary competitions.