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Cemetery in Kentucky

         The hours part us
         But they bring us
         Together again

Old stones with names we know,
plastic flowers faded by the sun,
blown by the wind, this little graveyard
on a hill where moss grows thick
as shag over the buried stories.
Who was Rebecca Soulerette?
Why does the mule standing back
in the trees in dusk hold so still?
Lichen grow among wool curls
on the lamb asleep in stone.
Ice and wind have pitted the cheeks
of the boy cherub kneeling over
the small grave of Freddie Peters.
Under the oak, shadows sway,
a cluster of black umbrellas.
There is some singing in the trees
that comes and goes. Hard truths
the haints rehearse, roots tugging
at their coal-dark hearts, lifting
sighs and mumbled hymns through long
seasons of mud and snow to leaf out
green in sun along the limbs.
A scarlet tanager haunts these leaves
with fleeting joy, and a bobcat
slinks along the dirt track below
the power lines down the hill
sniffing for scent of its lost mate.
Roots of the oak form a seat
where one can sit and read
the stone words at the angel's feet:
Mothers plant the seeds of love
That bloom forever
. Fathers help some.
Budd Ball's stone says he fought
and died in the Spanish-American War.
The angel cast in concrete cradles
a bird's nest like an infant
in her arms, hope's best tableau,
and her long hair and long dress
flow in a perpetual light breeze.
Her great, feathered wings look
as though they could lift her.
Sweet mother, forgive the fire,
we brought your ashes home.

Greg Pape

Four Swans
Lynx House Press

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