Advice from the Cemetery

Make friends with the dead:

Hold hands with their wives and children.

Sitting on a gravestone,

Ask them how you came to be:

What distances mean.

And dreams.

It is they who can tell you

How each black and white photograph

Began in color;

How to write your name in rock,

Becoming what everyone after you

Rests on

Until they begin again.

It is they who

Remember for you

That moment when each

Body releases its spirit

In a light so blinding

It stands for eternity.

Do not ask them

What to engineer:

They are too busy with

Their first love,

Hissing their way back

To the arms of the earth.

But wait for their nod

In the wind

Tugging its way

Into your breath.

Bury that

Next to your heart.

And then look ahead

To where your children

Are crying for you.

And refuse to trade them in

On anything.

This poem was originally published in Fireweed.

6 Responses

  1. This is a beautiful poem, I love it.

  2. Hi Madronna,
    I am seeing who you are a bit here! I am Kate’s sister. The poem is beautiful. Perhaps you will read it at her memorial?? Just a thought . . .

  3. This poem, I feel, pretty much sums it all. It seemingly provides an answer for so many things. I am in a point in my life in which I need advice on many things… this poem has helped me out.

    Thank you,
    Dana

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