Sleeping in a Country Graveyard on Our Anniversary

Moon and clouds
Photo by Kenrick Mills on Unsplash

Here, thankfully, there is no one to offer condolences. The evening comes on quietly—what darkness does to the wailing of crows. As I drift off, the tall grasses around your grave sway away from and toward me as if you’re returning to silence what is left of the world I still live in until my grief becomes loud enough to awaken the dead.

***

When I reach for you in sleep, my fingers stir ripples into a pool of gray moonlight resting just below your name. I slip into its cool water and surface beneath a sky full of darkness and stars. As I pull myself ashore, I find the shivering wreckage of a cloud.

Walk through me, it says, before the sun rises and lifts me into the air as mist. Your footprints will mark the way for both the living and the dead.

***

Still groggy and alone, I wake to find a round stone cupped in my palm the way you asked me to cup your remaining breast after your surgery. When I lift the stone to my lips, I swear I hear it trying to whisper flinty words to me and throw it deep into the grasses stooped now with morning dew. I recognize the language it was speaking. It is the language of dirt that I refuse to learn, just as you once told me ghosts refuse to touch the ground even though they are bound to walk the earth forever.

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