The 2River View 24.2 (Winter 2020)

George Perreault

the burial grounds

when last i walked among the dead,
your mom and dad, a favored nephew

it felt like archeology, a semi-feral cat
slinking through the stones

the catholics lay across the road,
then a narrow bet shalom,

all the caulked and sturdy boats
waiting on the shore

but today the markers rise like hives
the preacher swells with buzz

to dole out salvation’s honey
with specifics of the throne

then man’s held up as glory
the pinnacle of god’s dear work

all those stations you might’ve dialed
driving through the dark

the phrase that was used

summing my nephew, his doctor
avoids the anodyne, the passive voice

which organs now are compromised,
merely says he’s actively dying

my brother and i’ve watched wives
slide this way, my daughter too

it’s taken years in the scrub lands
to learn nothing is a weed

mullein thrives in broken soil
its leaves laying down a richness

where others flourish in its stead
before sparseness takes a turn

a fistful of blossoms each for a day
a hundred thousand seeds

sealing themselves for decades
until fire sweeps the fields

our nights fill with flowers,
our days so busy dying

George Perreault is the author most recently of Bodark County, a collection of poems in the voices of characters living on the Llano Estacado in West Texas.

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