Meditation on Graves

Meditation on Graves

Meditation on Graves 1920 1438 Matthew Early

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?

Header photograph © Randy Baker.

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