I ask you to make sure
that I’m not buried
where I can hear cars.
This, walking to the edge
of Arlington Cemetery where the lawns,
still empty, are separated from a parkway
by a fence, motors roaring
through what was, a few steps back,
only birdsong flickering
through the scores
of small white stones.
“Or muzak either,” you say, squinting,
because we had to leave
a Sunglass Hut earlier–me nutty
about all-around sound–
“Even if I’m only, you know, ash,” I add.
It takes us a moment
to see that the fence is filled
a woman sits cross-legged
on the sidewalk facing one, the only movement
the shimmer of her gold blouse.
Just then, a motorcycle fires,
rata-tat-tat, someone peeling away
too fast–ripping–so it feels, with the green stillness behind,
the woman’s stillness ahead–
the immense sky–Washington not
a tall city–
I try to find the bike,
but my eye is caught, instead,
in the light of the woman’s blouse, the unchanging rays
of each bent sleeve.
“So maybe it was good he died when he did.” I try a laugh.
“I mean,” I say, “I know I won’t be able to hear anything,
but I’d just go bananas.”
You take my hand.
And here’s one for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on with real toads to write a vignette. I do not know if this qualifies for Kerry’s wonderful prompt, but what I came up with.
As a process note, Arlington Cemetery is the Arlington National Cemetery, the US national military cemetery. It is an incredibly beautiful place, just on the other side of the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial and the Mall. In my photo, you can see the Washington Monument and the Capitol in the distance. The place we walked was beyond that single stone, which is quite unusual, as most of them are in lines and rows (and the grass is better tended.) My sense is that this one may actually be a marker for the beginning of the next grave area rather than an actually headstone.
Editing and uploading on iPhone from train where internet connection keeps giving out! Agh!!!! So posted before ready, and now in my office, and still uncertain–but, it’s a vignette, right? So, maybe I’ve even said too much—)Explore posts in the same categories: poetry, Uncategorized comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.