The sweet androgyny of death

I love cemeteries. They are not sad places for me. To the contrary, they remind me that those brave souls whose lives already possess both numbers, the prefix and suffix of the dash on lives well-lived, tell now a bigger story. I am strangely comforted that their passing has in some small way prepared me for mine. I am at peace in such places.







Crunching beneath my feet these leaves, left forgotten to rot and blow and weep,

gather in huddled piles, victims of their own deep fall from heights above to this forgotten place.

Their one-time glory now lies like hazy remembrances flattened and pressed into the soles of strangers’ boots.

Sometimes, when dry enough, they leave this parallel prison to drift and swirl and dance among these stones

that stand so still like soldiers, their only medals the printing on their chest

of this one or that one, the dash between numbers the only hint of where once they dwelt.

The sun’s cool brightness mocks the quiet of this place of silenced voices –

men too weak to risk, women too weak to love, children robbed of both.

Still, something about this grey, ponderous place, draped in Fall’s finest filigree

urges me on in this sweet reconnaissance, this date with mystery, undying.

And, while still standing on the shoulders of those who have spoken these same things,

the specter of risen spirits breaks ranks with the melancholy oaks and sings out a new song,

not of memory washed and sanitized, protected against itself,

but embraced in the sweet androgyny of death.

You may find the beautiful photo here.

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