The graveyard swelters in the August heat. No breeze sways the trees,
no presence of humans or any other life form, save for swirling dragon flies
and us–three panting dogs and one sweaty human–grace its sacred ground.
The dead are not giving away their secrets today.
They rest, exhausted by the constant process of blending
into the hard red clay. I hear it takes years for a body to decompose,
but maybe not so long in the dead heat of a Southern summer.
The massive headstones mark distinctive names,
names I’ve seen on street signs as I’ve driven through the town.
I lay my hand on one large slab. The cool stone calls my name.
I know it is my voice, but different, as if filters through the thick air.
“Your time will come. For now just walk the dogs and head back home.”
I want to stay, to lie down, to give it up. Instead,
I take one slow, soul-searing breath, and then move on.
h. cristina cassidy copyright July 27, 2016