April 1st. In honor of day one of National Poetry Writing Month, I wanted to share a poem I wrote yesterday, while wandering around my neighborhood graveyard:
I visit the dead.
Even their gravestones are buried now.
I dig them out from layers of soil and grass cover.
They’re not even that long gone.
1950s was the time my parents were born.
And that’s the beginning of the civil rights movement.
Isn’t it strange how recent that is?
I unbury the gravestones.
I don’t know if I should,
but they aren’t here to tell me
what is right or wrong anymore.
I find some that died in the 1920s,
when women just got the right to vote.
I wonder how many graves
I’m stepping on as I walk along
that I can’t see, buried too deep.
Some I uncover were born in the 1870s,
when non-white men received the right to vote.
I want to know their stories.
I want to know their names.
And I want to know
why someone would
buy all these graves
and never come back
to care for them.
They are planted,
but they will never grow.