Jan. 14: Visiting the fallen

East Lawn Cemetery, Sacramento

In between storms
I take my walk to find,
not far inside the open iron gate,
the first uprooted tree, its underside
typically hidden underground,
the lacy petticoat and fine bones
unearthed, nakedly exposed
under a hazy blue sky

Another of the fallen, its green apron
of grass still attached, has been sheared
open, exposing its heart to the sun,
surrounded by rings I’m tempted to count,
wondering how long it stood here.
A thousand lost, say the estimates,
in this city known for its trees.

And with them here lie the markers
of those gone long before these giants
fell on this memorial field, their limbs
strewn on muddy grass, the normally
tidy in disarray,

the new dead upended with the old dead,
some with their stones dislodged—

Justine L. Coffey, waiting for the Lord,
next to Charles E. Coffey, WWI Aero Squadron,
Julius Nyberg, beloved husband,
Angeline Marie Glans, in loving memory

side by side as it has always been,
as we among the living walk through
and remember.

East Lawn Memorial Park photos / Jan Haag

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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