Salem Cemetery

Children hold their breath in the depths of cars

With respect to the dead as their parents press the gas faster,

Peering nervously out of the corners of their eyes.

The graves gaze steadily back, squatted like small children,

Turning slowly to follow each flash of screaming metal zipping by.

These poor souls have been pinched off, removed to

A tiny spit of land in an ocean of zooming cars and bus depots.

The crumbling graves are nodding their headstones, tumbling

Into a turbid torpor as the fog of endless slumber settles softly

Across the dull lawn. Lofty obelisks chase intruders away,

Craggy arms menacingly shaking crumbling fists as they stagger into dust.

Here lies: "Frank Hunter

DIED

May ? 18 1964

AGED

14 Ys 4 Ms & 13 ? Ds"

A blue ribbon flaps forlornly at the base of the limestone slab.

Where is the mourning figure that placed the meager tribute here?

They are gone, as much of a ghost as the ashen phantasms haunting

This place, seen from a dazed and tired eye that jerks awake at the sight.

I think I feel their ghastly hands grasp my chest, snatching

At my fluttering heart. Their tiny fingers snarl between the slats

In my ribs, fumbling for life's glowing hem. They will cling

Like strands of smog as I struggle back through the fence and brush,

Over the rusted railroad tracks, racing towards home.

Becky Boyle