To Share A Name With The Dead


A dorm of college students sits
Not a thousand feet away
While Contemplation sits at their door
And waits and waits and waits.

I went today to a cemetery grey
And upon a tombstone saw
My own name.

She was a Scotswoman
Had the surname of Bradburn
But our “Caroline” was there
To stand beneath the lichen.

The ghost of Novembers-yet-to-come
Whirled me upon its wings
I stood wild-eyed and dumb
And lay beneath the grave.

I saw through the earth
Like a brown transparency
Saw my family gathered
Together, but changed.

My beloved mother to my right
Reposed, and there my father tarried
Shrunken and white and wise
After straining against his age.

I cried when I saw my husband come
His face looked twice his age
He laid a wreath of white upon my head
Tears of brine came from his eyes.

Then with a gasp my breath returned
And I in the cemetery stood.
The wind caressed, the clouds conversed
And my heart within me burned.

I do not wish to live with unseeing view
Of eternity and those around me, the all and the few.
I remove self and put love in its stead
For I share a name with the dead.

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