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Stones That Seem to Have

ISSUE:  Autumn 1988

Maybe what I wanted was all wrong.
I hate to speak against what I know
has gone on for thousands of years
in the human animal kingdom.
I hate to speak against
a grim tradition, names and slogans
chiseled into rows of stones.

I hate to speak against acres of holes,
and what we lower into darkness,
wearing Sunday clothes.
Perhaps I should be satisfied
with what the sunlight shows:
vines on iron fences, shadowy cedars
hiding the graves of people I used to know.
Maybe I should just watch from the road.

I know it’s green there, and people hired
to mow, sprinkle and take care are kind,
will kindly tell me which walk
winds down to someone I was sorry had to go.
They mow and sprinkle with such care,
the way an artist grooms a dream in pen and ink.
Maybe what I wanted I wanted
because I didn’t know how to behave
in a quiet room with walls made of small breezes,
and maybe that was wrong.
I hate to speak against fat blossoms in glass jars,
and what else would you bring?

I hate to speak against marching the aisles
between stones that seem to have grown
from the lawn, saying the names of strangers,
saying the names of friends.
I hate to speak against enjoying the flowers
and feeling the sun on my face.
I hate to speak against anything that lets me enter
and then enters me, the way flowers move
slowly in the sun, making adjustments.
As if I could move slowly as a flower.
Maybe I should have wanted that.


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