Three women climb from the car
in which they have driven slowly
into the churchyard.
They come toward us, to see
what we are doing.
What we are doing
is reading the strange,
of the dead.
One of the women
speaks to us-
after we speak to her.
She walks with us and shows us,
with downward-thrust finger,
which of the dead where her people.
She tells us
about two brothers, and an argument,
and a gun-she points
to one of the slabs
on which there is a name,
some scripture, a handful of red
plastic flowers. We ask her
about the other brother.
"Chain gang," she says,
as you or I might say
"Des Moines," or "New Haven." And then,
"Look around all you want."
The younger woman stands back, in the stiff weeds,
like a banked fire.
The third one-
the oldest human being we have ever seen in our lives-
suddenly drops to the dirt
and begins to cry. Clearly
she is blind, and clearly
she can't rise, but they lift her, like a child,
and lead her away, across the graves, as though
as old as anything could ever be, she was, finally,
perfectly finished, perfectly heartbroken, perfectly wild.
This is the first poem that I have written in its entirety - for I know of no other way to tell the story that left me crying this morning. Mary, you surprised me. Me, a Georgia born gal who thought I had seen everything.
Are you as blind as I have been? The world invites us to look around all we want in the pull and push of Yes, No, and in the end we are here to be heartbroken. Nothing else but this, which is everything.