Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

All the Graves

Kimberly L. Becker


Within the space of a week I visit all the graves.
My grandparents’ double wide and my uncle’s
double but singly inhabited one.
His twice remarried wife will have to choose
with whom to rest eternally.
My undead mother’s drawer in a parish
columbarium is empty but engraved.
The CSA grave of a great-great grandfather
lies surrounded by the little mounds of
influenzaed infants. And my own grave:
You can see it from the window
by the kitchen table, a straight view into
the upper meadow past the barn. A rock
of granite big enough to stand or sit on.
A rock of substance and of ages.
Just stand on it and cast my ashes around.
Maybe with no breeze they’d plop into cow pies.
No matter. It’s the sweep of ridge I like.
The land is already consecrated
by the call of hawks, throaty bullfrogs in
the summer, petite feet of scavenging fox,
so I don’t require or want any formal rites.
A psalm if you must, about the hills.
But let the wind be my homily,
the range of mountains my communion.
The Queen Anne’s lace and staves of goldenrod
are all the altar flowers I’ll ever need.
Don’t be shy about visiting, but don’t
come on my account. If you find yourself
here, sit down. Take in the view. This is the heaven
I know and knew. I hope you’ll know it, too.

***

Kimberly L. Becker’s poems appear in such journals as Baltimore Review, Georgetown Review, Healing Muse, South Carolina Review, Stone Table Review, storySouth, Westview and Words-Myth. She held a grant (NJ) in fiction, with fiction appearing in Parting Gifts. A native Southerner, she lives in Maryland, but returns home to NC as often as possible.

© Kimberly L. Becker

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012