“Walking in the Buckley Graveyard” by Fredrick Zydek

Fredrick Zydek


I greet these stones like family, give them
freshly picked ferns and trilliums because
no other gifts are as real. I go among
the graves naming what I can of all the risks
we take with eternity. I call them by name,

wonder at all the ways my footsteps measure
the little spaces between us, the stubborn
luggage I carry in my heart like an anvil, dusty
memories that reduce life to a single struggle,
a solitary reason for visiting in the first place.

I want neither sympathy nor science. I want
to know if the darkness is without a mother
too, if there’ll ever be a summer when no one
drowns, if we’ll find something more than dust
at the water hole. Don’t tell me these are just

names carved in stone or that nobody is really
here. Each has a voice of its own—a history
my footsteps call from the graves. Dare I dance
to the music of time, celebrate these departures,
wonder why everything in me wants to sleep here?

from Rattle #23, Summer 2005

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