THE GRAVEDIGGER THINKS OF
The gravedigger sits on the backhoe smoking a cigarette.
It’s quiet beneath the trees that partially hide him
from the scrum of mourners beset by grief, regret,
their weeping faces wan and pinched and grim.
The gravedigger waits until the last one leaves,
then yells to signal his men to lower the box,
and turns the key that wakes his rumbling beast
that lumbers now to move the dirt and rocks.
The gravedigger fills the hole until the mound
remarks upon the grass like blood on skin.
And when he cuts the engine there is no sound
except the whispered shush of trees in wind.
The gravedigger thinks of all he needs to do
before he sleeps tonight, like me, like you.
—from Rattle #28, Winter 2007
Tribute to Nurses
T.S. Davis, RN: “When I was fifteen and living in a cage of equal parts conditioning and inexperience, Dylan Thomas and Kenneth Patchen roared up in a metaphorical ’65 baby blue Mustang blasting away with words like hollow tip bullets at the concrete and steel of my small town prison and broke me out of jail. I joined their gang and I’ve been on the run ever since.”