I love the smell after a rain and being among the trees. The rush of cars somewhere outside of the cemetery was a soothing whiteness while inside the fences, all was still.

My grandfather’s gray stone lay flush against the grass. I traced my fingertips over the letters.

Shaya walked atop the stones – great-uncle to great-aunt, Grandpa Louie, Grandma Evelyn, Grandpa Artie. Asher and Eliana counted steps.

“Let’s hide behind the gravetone, like in the Abbey in the Sound of Music!” Asher ducked behind the big engraved family name.

Across the way were my father’s parents and grandparents. I read each surname aloud as we walked from section 21 to section 18.

As I walked in the wet grass, smelled the damp, I was back in graduate school in Vermont. A time of openness and carefree sitting on fences, leaves changing up the mountainsides, driving into the angles of the road.

A place as if no one lives there, but so many do. From house to house, miles of quiet, and the trees speaking their own language from limb to leaf. I walked under cover of trees, wet fallen leaves carpeting the dirt path.

In a heartbeat I drove to Montreal, passing the 45th Parallel at the border, and then I was in another world though it looked strikingly familiar. I spoke languages of the heart then. But I was writing poetry.

This morning, Shaya slipped from the gravestone onto the wet grass. I watched but didn’t say anything. He didn’t cry, just picked himself up from the ground and kept walking.


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