May/June 2021 KR OnlinePoetry |

Before We Begin the Lowering

We feel immortal
above the ground
walking among
willows grieving
the bodies withering.
The passing brings
us here, we can’t help
but return when the
earth calls them,
we follow their
following of sound,
carrying them away.
The ground
can’t help but
cave to the weight
of our feet; it absorbs
the heavy above
while cradling past
lives below. In the
midst of it all,
my cousin’s cousin
(a small boy twice removed),
his crown of
tangled roots, his
knees sullied
with joyful falling,
swiftly brushes by me;
his shrieks of joy startle
the cemetery’s quiet
he runs between
gravestones unabashed
as the aunties reach
to shush him,
quelling his speed
to a stop. He is happy
with unknowing
we are sad with
having once known—
They’re already dead
his voice buoyant
echo, our faces soften
at the honesty
of this moment
at the grin growing
crescent on young
Black skin. We laugh
at the life existing
in his words; while
the poplars stretch
above us, the wind
rattles through.