Friday, July 27, 2007
In a Country Churchyard
I saw an ancient woman at St. Paul’s,
in Virginia, kneeling, busy among the graves.
She watched me inspect the sober meeting hall,
finger the native granite, before she waved,
called me to see her weather-blackened stones.
She scrubbed at the discolored architrave
of an old family stele, her miniphones
almost lost in the blue hair that escaped
her blue knitted cap. I could see her bones
as she bore down, the stark, defined shape
of her carpals as the brush stretched her hands,
her vertebrae in the thin skin at her nape.
“It’s just something I’ve never been able to stand,”
she told me. “A dirty grave is a pure disgrace.
It’s all this awful traffic. Should be banned.”
“The exhaust. It eats up things we can’t replace.
This black is nothing but acid. It’s not just smoke.”
I wished her luck on the ban with my straightest face.
She scrubbed awhile in silence before she spoke.
“When I’m gone this place’ll melt, that’s all.
Well, fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em. I hope they choke.”