An Old Richmond Cemetery
by Wendy DeGroat

I’ve come from rooms rimed with memories, come with a heart refusing gone, come to sit until it succumbs to this insistent impermanence, chiseled evidence I can read and touch as afternoon’s amber seeps from stone, generations of bone-dust buried in rows eroding toward an ivy and kudzu clot, Smith and Seddon the nearest plots—Charles, M.D., beside Louise, only five, Elvira, known as Ella when she was alive, James, her son, and Fanny Brown, gone before she turned one. As I record their dates, names, journal threads let go of the page, magnolia leaves and cones pock the ground with each gust, scarlet seeds spilling slow like blood when the skin’s caught, river’s roar below just water drops hourglassing through rock. Each time I stop my pen, look, more people cross the bridge, boats beneath, everything moving toward somewhere else and that same place at once. Later, I forget. Plate empty, I ask for the check, worried you’ve been alone too long. Then I remember. This is my heart again, keeping you from dead. On the way home, moon’s surplice gray on the road ahead, none of the lights will stay red.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 4.

wendy-degroat-sqWendy DeGroat is a librarian in Richmond, Virginia, where she also teaches writing workshops and curates poetryriver.org. Her poems have appeared in Rust + Moth, Raleigh Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Rogue Agent, Heron Tree, Mslexia and elsewhere. Her chapbook Beautiful Machinery is available from Headmistress Press.

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