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What is there to say



when walking 

through a cemetery

with someone who is dying


our respective children 

bundled in coats so puffy 

they could drop to the ground 

and bounce right back up


But you will fall soon

and never rise,

details of day and place

the only unknown


The children revel 

in disheveling the snow

romping around tombs


pronouncing the names

calculating the dates

especially those 

who departed young


What is there to say

when we know

you will be among them


I don’t even know 

if you want a stone

or what words

would sum you up


you who are a teardrop

in the eye of God

no prayer to withhold you

from their open hand


you who are unknown

to almost the whole world

who will not be missed


except for a fierce little cluster

whose love will not save you


What is there to say

as I watch you in glances

trying to spy on your soul


The children find the graves

graced with weather-beaten treasure

beads and bottles 

fake flowers and flags


maybe we too will lay

such gifts at your feet


until then I give you this


a dream of life

a silent collusion

nothing left to say

but to gather the children

and walk away 

MORROW DOWDLE is a poet and psychiatric physician assistant working at a community health clinic in Hillsborough, NC.

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