The Periodical End of Life

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.




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