Sky Graves Are Secret

Richard Widerkehr 

- walking in a Lutheran cemetery

No flying horses lift their wings in the sun.  A green-crested 
   night heron has crept from its pool.  My mother rests 
in no grave, sleeps in no garden. On our mahogany gate-leg 

table she left us, her urn rests beneath two stylized herons. 
   Don’t pull such a grave face, she might say. We had  
the Texaco station, that flying red horse on Woodhaven   

In my mother’s story of gardens, nine spotted ladybugs 
   on a foxglove bell one June.  “What Is So Rare 
As A Day In June?”  Her favorite poem.  

Sugarloaf was my best garden, she said.  Chopped-back 
   roses on Wood Road.  Her death, a hanging garden 
near the sun.  Now a bee with gold fur on its thighs 

in this rock garden, beside the graves of twelve reverend 
   mothers.  Once, we counted twenty-seven herons.

Richard Widerkehr has two books of poems, In The Presence Of Absence (MoonPath Press) and The Way Home (Plain View Press), along with three chapbooks and a novel, Sedimental Journey. He earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. Recent work has appeared in Sweet Tree, Rattle, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, Crab Creek Review, Raven Chronicles, and others. Widerkehr won three first prizes for poems in contests at The Bridge and won first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. 

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