>“For Janie stands behind me. She never leaves my sight.
Yet sometimes when the moon is full I imagine she leaves this room.
I wonder, does she have a place to go? Perhaps a tomb?
I still transcribe her poems every day and every night.
My own could never compare to those of Janie Alison White.”
by Michael Barnett
While I sit beside your grave, on All Hallows’ Eve
I read the inscription, written so long ago
I visualize what your body looks like now
Decayed and crumbling, your once golden hair
brittle … sparse …
No eyes to see with, no mouth to speak
Have worms entered, taking your spirit away?
Do you rest peacefully?
When they heaved the earth upon your casket
Could you feel the weight, pushing you toward eternal sleep?
Are the cold nights lonely for you, in your private bed?
As the rain pours over the ground, soaking through the earth
Does it reach your brittle bones, forming icicles, hanging and suspended?
Do you still listen to the waterfalls, so close outside your home?
When the veil is lifted between living and dead
With marigolds and incense to soothe you
Will we feel at peace?
Process notes: I borrowed the prelude to this poem from
a short story my husband wrote some years back. My husband
is a writer and editor.