At the top of our street, a cemetery keeps
time for the rest of us, its metronome of
dirt, tent, dirt more steady than a pulse,
a sundial of sorrow as the ground cycles between
the unturned, the freshly tilled, the blanketed
back over again. Groups huddle in loose
fists of black, bouquets of fake flowers
upending in the wind, sent skittering
to cluster in the culvert seep.
And each night, across the level field,
spots of amber cast a softening glow, nightlights
someone thought to place
for the dead still afraid of the dark.
At what point does mourner
turn into visitor? Polished headstones
throw back the light of the early morning sun.
A woman walks her dog. Or no one shows.
At what point do we realize this is
no ending, these calls that always come
in the middle of someone else's life?