Her husband turned to the afterlife when
something incurable found a way to him,
prepared for things that soon might go on
somewhere beyond his body, even bought
two plots hoping his wife would one day
join him. And after he passed she arrived
at the cemetery each day, ready to seed
the loose, dark earth in prayer, engaging
in her own funerals over the vacancy at
his side—until the soil where they’d sleep
forever was washed in every empty answer.
There’s a churchyard in us all we keep alive,
wicks we light, angels we purchase to polish
the grounds of our past, other days digging
to a smooth surface—Until we meet again,
their stone says. It’s a date, the unsigned end
signing some new romance she can’t refuse.
There are things that won’t wash away even
if they wash away, and it’s hard to turn down
a heaven the love of your life has left you,
to give away the gift of a grave. Sometimes
it’s pure hell waiting for a name, wondering
who you’ll meet again when you meet again,
what was cured, if it matters. Sometimes.
George Bishop’s work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly & Lindenwood Review. Forthcoming work will be featured in Pirene’s Fountain. He is the author of seven chapbooks. Bishop won the 2013 Peter Meinke Prize at YellowJacket Press for his chapbook Following Myself Home and was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. He attended Rutgers University and now lives in Saint Cloud, Florida.