Eleven iron stones were found in the creek bed
I walked on the right side of you
Sometimes I would brush your
Elbow, and you would jump,
Like a surprised field mouse
Perhaps a cat, perhaps no cat at all
Each Wednesday we walked together
From Spinely Road to Weckman
I always looked down, and you always up
Then back to our husband and wife
Oh, and we had our dogs with us.
You were waiting for the day you would feel alive
Or was that me? Someone followed us,
Carrying a large package covered in brown paper
So we talked softly, then dissolved into whispers.
That’s the story of our recourse.
A blind alley is one that ends abruptly
There are always millions in that smallish space
They glare at the walls, the bricks, they examine the mortar
The mortar between bricks – on and on
You could make a life of just counting the miles of it
In the interim, no one escapes. They will always be there.
They will never buy a house. Of them all, none will remember a song
Bite down on this bullet, or this leather strap
There are many men with only one arm
They manage quite well,
With only eleven iron stones.
In eighteen sixty four, 12,000 men committed suicide after losing a limb in the war.
They are all buried in the Earth
The cheap headstones were wood or slate
The expensive ones limestone of marble
They eroded at different rates from water and ice
Prim Susans take etchings and marvel at the tilting stones
There are eleven of them in Ada, North Carolina
Next to the best barbecue place in town.