by David Bart

Headstones were toppled, epitaphs stretched
with wisecracks. We had hoped to experience
the eerie abandonment of an old churchyard.
This was just a rural cemetery desecrated
by a half century of kids wanting a scare.

Driving into town, we found a boxcar museum
sorry to be closed. The historic locomotive
had been reduced to jpegs on the inert municipal blog.
It was Saturday evening so the bulk townsfolk
were plowing through big box aisles of unbeatable savings.
The old courthouse square was given over to dark
or vacant storefronts. Skaters lounged on their boards
scarfing beef jerky and Red Bull, tweens at once glum
and jittery from childhood withdrawal.
The route leaving town showed us sunken bungalows,
one still hung with Christmas décor which became
the trappings of bereavement in the crayola dusk.
Under an arch of sycamores, the unctuous blacktop
road dipped and swerved until we felt it must be
taking us someplace full of promise.

We slowed while driving past the cemetery.
A skater kid had told us legends about fallen headstones
that stand up by themselves after dark. How the statue
of an angel grows horns at midnight.

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