1. Awareness of Joy
  2. Birds at Recess
  3. The Call Back
  4. A poem to commemorate dennis's road rash, broken rib, concussion and the bruising of his fourth cranial nerve
  5. Oakland Is Burning
  6. Finding Paul's Marker
  7. Freeway
  8. Carolton
  9. Grief in a Dry September
  10. A Headache on Tuesday, February 26, 2002
  11. heaven
  12. A Hillside Pond in the Rain
  13. Hoarder
  14. L.O.F. (In Her Door)
  15. Intersection
  16. Iporaõ 1960
  17. A Janitor on Hansen Way
  18. laundry
  19. Lucy in the Streets with Ashes
  20. The Man in Blue
  21. When the Morning Air was Cold
  22. Night Stand
  23. objectification
  24. (Quoting Emily Dickenson)
  25. Racoon Eyes
  26. Red Lips
  27. Reflections on a dislocation
  28. The Runway
  29. sails
  30. San Antonio Station, January 3, 2005, 4 Pm
  31. Scene Report
  32. Shark Teeth
  33. Prayer for an Old Woman
  34. Encounter in an Unfinished Room
  35. Y Sovendo Morréu com Raiva
  36. On the Strand
  37. Tethered
  38. Before the Beast
  39. The Ties that Bind
  40. Viewing Bald Eagles
  41. Voyeur
  42. What I Learned on Summer Vacation
  43. What I Learned on Summer Vacation
  44. Without You
  45. Love Poem to You Written on a Mountain
  46. Your Tongue is Soft and Your Teeth Slide in Easy


I tell Dennis to take a  wrong  turn  when  I  take  him  to  Paul's
I'm not used to these roads having street signs.
Turning back around, having round-abouted to the highway, he notes a
terrapin hunkered down  on  the  divider,  a  small  one  not  quite
covering the width of the yellow stripe.
We find the cemetery.
I've not been here for twenty years so we wander a bit to  find  the
right grave.
I am amazed at my genes in this dirt,  lives  buried  back,  uncles,
aunts, cousins, grandparents and beyond.
I keep forgetting I'm just one leaf and not the whole forest.
I keep forgetting that I too will fall.
I keep forgetting that I will sleep on, seeping  into  and  becoming
the soil.
I've brought an allium to plant.
Paul said, when he was twelve, "When I die, I  want  them  to  plant
onions on my grave so that everyone who comes by has to cry."
I hope he's satisfied with chives.
I start digging with my fingers.
Dennis asks if I'd like a shovel.
I reply that this is pretty darned poetic, but  a  shovel  would  be
more efficient.
The grave diggers turned up the soil from deeper  beyond  the  grass
roots' reach.
It is clay, it is flint, it is hard.
Dennis finds a Coleman multi-tool; I use it to pry rocks loose until
I get a hole big enough for the chives.
Cemetery rules forbid planting flowers, so I camouflage  the  chives
with the arrangements left over from the interment ceremony.
I did not make it to the funeral, but at Paul's bedside person after
person after person stopped me to say variations on "He helped me, I
mean he really helped me out a lot."
The silk roses are splattered with mud and reflect a  hard  and  icy
Still, they'll probably last another two or three months before  the
garbage collectors get them.
I wonder if the chives will survive the summer or  the  planting  of
the tombstone sometime in the future.
Somebody told mother Paul's temporary grave marker had been stolen.
I note it was under the fake roses and lilies all along.
Back on the road, Dennis sees the terrapin still hunkered.
He stops to save her.

  1. Author
    Stephen Riddle
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Stephen Riddle,

© Stephen Riddle 2009, All Rights Reserved
This Document Last Modified: Sunday August 02, 2009