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.”

7 comments:

Minx said...

My Grandma, a cleaner of doorsteps, a blackener of grates
Said there's nothing more in this world she hates
Than a dirty grave to seal the fates
Of souls who knock at the pearly gates.

John said...

Always listen to your Gran.

Minx said...

I do. She died about 15 years ago, but she still has lots to say.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Did you really meet her?! Or is she just a passing thought?

I like her.

And, I've learned a new word today!
Architrave.
I have several dictionaries within reaching distance of the seat here at my desk, and they... coupled with my thesaurus, are sacred text to me.
I love to open them and find new words to learn, and you've gifted me with one I hadn't found yet.

Thank you so much!


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

John said...

You're very welcome, Scarlett. Words are kind of important.

mutleythedog said...

Lovely and funny too! Great!

John said...

Very much appreciate it, Mutley, coming from someone who knows funny. You've made my day.