As we walk the tongue-tied rows
I think of them, you, me. How we are
each of us émigrés from a body, each
a body that passed first
through a border of flesh into air.
All the grass blades hum together
the canticle the flowers chanted
before they were cut, the song
the ciliates still sing in the stale water
turning green from bloated stems.
Catalog of stone in a ramshackle library,
tomes of biographies, citations detailing decay.
Some hold a glossed photo of the departed,
frozen face and the dated hair, awkward
for a few decades, until old enough
to be quaint. They came into a land
of downward slopes having left
great marks, or none, or only fingerprints.
Maybe it’s the archivist in me;
but I am so happy among the names and dates.
And it is so quiet here,
with only a distant backhoe motor,
the robins’ tumble of notes.