Monday, April 2, 2012

I Stopped By Their Headstones Again

Today I stopped by their headstones again,
Down a ways from where new mourners kneel
Beside baskets of lilies, roses, creeping thyme
And, of course, the dark hole, always a shock,
Wide against the mound of fresh dirt and mulch.
The small places that will take us all back.
What lies beneath this wormy grass is not them,
Not the buffed beings with clear coated nails
we still know well from the pictures: 
The handsome sun lovers in uniform, the newly
Baptized and Confirmed, women in see-through gowns,
Holding babies or kittens, waving from new cars,
All these life-loving toiling hearts, unprepared.
All that’s left of them now lays here underfoot--
Rows of ripened bodies, rubble, skulls, trinkets, 
Dried flesh, tangled hair, hooked nails, wax--before
They were caught in one of their usual hangouts
At their designated hour, to be hollowed out one day
Like so many small Pompeii’s or even scooped up
By incandescent beings into an uncommon world.

Copyright (c) 2012 Ellen McCarthy. All rights reserved.