Inconvenient Cemetary
by Sarah Russell


At a corner where two 6-lane highways cross
lies a 32-soul cemetery.
Bindweed crawls on crooked markers
reading Beloved Mother, Cherished Child
Too Soon Gone, R.I.P. George Lindstrom 1842-1905.

Around it sprawls a shopping mall
with Neiman Marcus and Forever 21.
Home Depot is across the street
and a Landmark 12 Screen Cinema's nearby.

Once this was a village crossroads
where The Church of the Nazarene stood.
Gravestones wore flags and geraniums then.
Kinfolk came to mourn here, and churchfolk
came the day before Palm Sunday with kaiser blades
and trowels so it looked nice for Easter.

But the old church burned in '29,
and members gravitated to The Church of Christ.
Then the suburbs spread this way, and well,
you know the rest.

Developers want the site for Arby's,
but dead Nazarenes need relatives' permission,
archeologists and legal briefs to move.
Not worth the effort, shrugged the planning board.

So they're swapping the rundown Victorian fence –
iron with rusty curlicues – for a wood one six feet tall.
Today they set the posts, and only one guy crossed himself
when a marker that said Always In Our Hearts fell over.

A privacy fence they call it.
Once it's up, we can all get on with life.






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