Sky Graves Are Secret
- 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.