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hillside cemetary : photo by author

h i l l s i d e   c e m e t a r y

:  m a r i a   p a c e  


forsaking festivals of sumptuous summer sweat
for a passage through the dead man's holiday
placecards of stone mark each guest's plot
each plan curtailed by the carving of dates
each resigned to rest in his assigned seat

the air lies stiff, severed from the sun
the cool of disconnect placates us
we glean no meaning or mercy
from the lavish tombs of forgotten freemasons,
shields and pentagrams etched in marble
parry a pretense of culture

no forgiveness either for the living
who plant potted flowers. pigment and petals
strewn in Neanderthal graves.
the word "MOM" built out of blossoms,
her face fades with the calliope voice,
when the grieving passes, she is remembered only as
the dead woman.

not my kin, not yours. we could purchase
floral emblems for each. memorize memorials.
they are a new clan now, rooted
in rotting acreage.

the breeze boasts rock bands and revelry,
wafts daringly in, dapples tree and stone
though no ears are configured to hear.

even the caterpillars are dead,
all of them posed to crawl across the pavement
but you can tip them over with your toe--
stiff little larvae, sticky feet unstuck

is it the black band or the brown
that foretells the season’s rainfall
and the first frost? brittle bugs,
bands of plush cloaking cracked misfortunes

the calliope travels through train tracks,
leading us to Chinese tombs
flanked by dragons, bearing color photos
of the body within. as if that face could name the
spirit, rouse the tarnished memory.

the slip of paper in the cookie said:
" time is the wisest counselor".
hours muffle fireworks, preened
to polished granite, softening the glow.

[7/6/04]

 

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