The gravestones, in random shapes line the hill the morning chill creeps between them and onto the runway until washed away by the spring sun slowly pushing upward as the jet noise washes the hill unheard
He passed away quietly in his bed ending his dread of the cancer slowly engulfing him his vision dimmed by the morphine that pulsed through his veins. He paused to remember the first spring rains.
She selected the plot on the hillside she would confide to friends, so that he might see the valley at long last free, to see the flowers bloom in early spring, the land that was his home and he its king.
One summer the caskets were carried out while the devout cursed the sacrilege of the master plan of the madman who decided that the airport must sit on the hill, his valley forever split.
The jets rush over the cemetery February snows blown across the gravestones in their wake as one snowflake melts slowly on the ground, a falling tear which, unheard, marks another passing year.
First Appeared in Candelabrum Poetry Magazine (UK), April 2002.
Perhaps it is just that I do not have a mantle on which to place the cherished artifacts of my life, my parents and grandparents photos, a family Tanach, the tallis my first adoptive father wore to his Bar Mitzvah.
I have nothing, which this day seems sadly appropriate, for their history really is not mine, never was, I simply borrowed it for a time but all loans must end for that is their nature.
I have a photo of her gravestone the worman who bore me, of her in her college yearbook, of him in a group shot of his unit, in uniform but I still have no mantle and so little to place there if i ever did have one.
I approach it slowly, overcome by fear and desire, warned to step carefully over the uneven earth that on this hillside haven set behind the rusting wrought iron fence , its master lock dangling askew, peers out through the trees to the Kanawha river flowing unknowingly through the valley.
The stone is set in line with the others, neatly incised, a name, English and Hebrew, two petunias, cornered, in perpetual bloom, a beloved sister and aunt, and unstated, unknown perhaps, a mother whose son, gently touching the stone, washes her with my tears, and we speak of love in silence, and I, a child of sixty-seven, embrace my mother for the first time, and I am finally and for the first time, complete
We are obligated to carry memories, and as we get older, the burden grows ever heavier, we bend under its weight, knowing we dare not lose even one for once cast off, the weight is carried off like the smallest feather on a storming wind. Soon enough it is we who Will become the burden that others must carry and we hope they will willingly shoulder the load lest we become the excised dust of a forgotten stone grown over with weeds.