Semantics of The Dead and Living

We drive up to the graveyard

on the hill toward the top

of town just to see the evening

sun. “I don’t think people

call them graveyards anymore,”

you say. You say, “I think

a graveyard is part of a church.

People buried in the yard

of a church.” I suppose you’re right.

This is not a church, but it’s not

without ritual. We drive up

to the cemetery filled with

graves on the hill toward

the top of town. A new section

has been cleared of trees,

a toothless pocket ready

to be filled. We park and

pretend the sun will set beyond

the ridges spilled with green

into the ocean instead of more

Midwest. Turkey vultures circle

in the pines, their shifting like

a sail’s dry flap in a falling wind.

Below we watch three deer leap

headstones and then open space

making for the redrawn edge

of the cemetery separating something

from something from something.

Patrick Swaney lives in Athens, OH, where is completing a PhD in poetry. He is the editor of Quarter After Eight. His work has appeared in Conduit, Indiana Review, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere.