Picnicking In Mt. Misery Cemetery

by George L. Chieffet

Picnicking In Mt. Misery Cemetery


We breathe the damp shade,

plum trees shining

in a woodland where there are few wrong things

I want to remember-- the steel fence

of the power company

blazing under an arc light is one.

On this day of ripening fruit

simpler to close my eyes,

invent springtime.

for you, at fourteen,

have cruel years before ripening,

before you know what I know is coming.

I spread a blanket and hide the corners under stone.

I watch for flutter

though you hold steady

as the stone marker bathed in laurel.

You are dainty as goldenrod, petite as buttercup
carrying flimsy shoes in one hand

taking careful backward steps

planting your toes just so
dancing over human bones

as serious as you will ever be.

Will you dig up the past?

Find  roots in the world

that might give you grounding

while you are here?

You look past carved monuments and Virginia creepers,

complain about flies landing in our whipped-cream dessert.

Years from now, I will listen to the same voice

banish me from your life forever.

Even then, it will not seem the door is shut.

I will try, as I tried that day, to offer you salted nuts

some distraction, vamping for time.