NR Digital

Poetry

by William W. Runyeon

CEMETERY HERD

The cemetery was laid out in
the 1850s. The headstones are of
the differing styles fashionable over
the many years of its operation,
with paved pathways meandering
their narrow course along
the top of the hill, old trees
crowding the pathways and
the gravesites, a mausoleum
here and there, and open
grassy slopes, attractive
at either side.

In paying our respects
to those beloved and now gone,
it is not uncommon to see
a deer or two passing silently
through the gray trees and the graves,
offering a broader sense of place
to this world apart.

But not until the bright, chilly
afternoon of Easter Sunday
did I see them gathered together,
surprisingly close to the gate
and to the city beyond,
a dozen, perhaps more, alert
in a “keeping an eye on the world” way,
but in any deeper sense, undisturbed.
Then I understood. They live here.
There is nowhere else for them to go,
and nowhere else they should be.

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