301 Moved Permanently

301 Moved Permanently


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A Tourist Church in Drome

Pea-gravel recently raked right up to the lintel.
No footprints, not even the wind.

The car we’d been following up the hill
had also stopped in the parking lot.

A young woman took flowers out of it and a child
of two or three & she was now squatting alongside
a recently-covered grave –her husband?—

There had been news on the radio of a certain kind
of cyclist killed on the road—she pats and arranges
the grave-top and the flowers, the toddler holds

on to the edge of a nearby tomb.  I tried to open
the church door but knew before trying it was locked

and empty, picturesque on the hill, I can’t remember
which saint or mystery it consecrated, or had—

The young widow in the chilly sunshine
didn’t seem sad enough, we thought

to have been so recently bereaved as this grave
suggested with fresh dark dirt still piled on top

—she left the cemetery, closing the gate & taking out
her phone, ushered the child back into the car.

We wanted to read the inscription on the gravestone
but didn’t want her to see us

& she stayed in the car a long time talking on the phone
while we wandered about taking such an interest

in the empty churchyard, deserted except for her car
and ours, and so we thought we’d better leave

& maybe come back another day if we were in the area,
which we never would be

but maybe we would, some day, in the future,
in better weather—when the lavender was blooming.

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