My Mother Was Buried
by David Sapp

My mother was buried,
but I don’t know where
in Saint Luke cemetery;
after the turn at Jelloway,
I drive up and down Ohio,
small, green mountains
of alfalfa, cattle, woods, barns,
a crazy carnival ride so steep
I can’t see who’s coming
over the crests of hills.

My mother was buried,
but my search is slowed
by Amish journeys to the dollar store,
buggies brimming with smaller versions,
black, broad-brimmed hats
and white, starched bonnets,
poking through window flaps;
they seem to ask, “What’s the hurry?”
A little loony, I reply, “Do you know
where my mother is buried?”

My mother was buried,
but I wasn’t there
when my sister planted her ashes.
Would she come up next spring? Damn!
“Here I am!” She could be
just a few doors down from Dad,
the man she clawed at, crazed beast
shredding shirts from his chest,
buttons popping like snapped bones,
her mouth spitting caustic magma.

My mother was buried,
but I must confess, I can only think:
no more shrill epistles
oozing dread in my mailbox.
With no stone, no thoughtful bouquet,
no charming, little cherub perched,
I examine each, fresh scab,
but no mound of dirt and rock
seems to fit her temperament;
at each plot, “Are you my mother?”

My mother was buried
long before Eisenhower or Buddy Holly,
her innocence deeply thrust in the soil
by her father, an uncle. Who?
Who stole her knack for
loving, nurturing, mothering?
My mother is buried,
but I am content with this ignorance
I’ll not lift my shovel
to dig and solve this puzzle.

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