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Days of the Dead
by PC Kennedy

        "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance…" Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5.

I learned this in Guaymas.
The big rosemary bush in the family plot
needs trimming again,
the dust on the gravestone brushed away.
I pull a few weeds and mow down the lawn.

The grapevine wreath falls
at a rakish angle from our Stone Lady's neck.
It might as well be a lampshade on a drunk.
So many names written on tissue,
tied with knots and hung on the branches.
Two new ones this year,
the list grows long.
The cold candles lit.

Treats for all: Dad's favorite snack,
liverwurst & aged cheddar on saltines,
"A bite with a bite!" he called it;
hot brewed black for Mom
and a thin slice of her apple pie;
Ron likes cheap bottled beer and crouton crunchies;
one vodka tonic with extra ice the way that
Wancy loved it, cold and bitter.

In Mexico it is said that the Dead like sugar,
so I scatter hard candy on the ground and drop
chrysanthemum petals to light their way
in the dark as they do in the desert.

All Souls can be fun… I'll sip some vodka,
swig the beer before I pour the rest onto
this hallowed ground. I leave the graveyard
with the remains of my party.

It's a far cry from the Days in Sonora
but on this chilly hillside, damp & gray,
alone with the ghosts in the old cemetery,
we remember the ones who are gone.


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