“In Pobiddy, Georgia what we are doing is reading the strange
and wonderful names of the dead.”
She sometimes accompanied me
to the cemetery, vast with its flat markers,
flat to avoid
cluttering the vast sky here,
wandering from name to name to name,
each with dates
pinned down forever
piping, “Oh! How sad!” …. the next the same
and again the same.
I rarely noticed others than my own there
as she and I drove away.
A young girl knelt beside a mound
of disturbed soil, praying,
or so it seemed … not raising her head
to the grave-surrounding
white picket fence
filled with teddy bears.
My little one was indiscriminant
in her mourning, and my task
of coaxing her back to our busy world
where many sorrows
awaited her, too.
Even the kneeling one
That is what the living do. We seldom,
unless we have to, stay there
for very long.