Queenstown Cemetery 2010

by Elaine Edwards

Grey skies press down
on rows and rows of gravestones:
black granite in the new part near the gate,
brown sandstone in the old part
near the fence.

In air-conditioned luxury we glide down
stony roads, heading towards
the lopsided, fallen, worn and shattered
monuments that mark our destination.

Abandoning the car under a dripping pine tree
we trudge among the graves, reading:
Benjamin James aged 3 fell asleep on 21 February 1864.
Mary Maude Webber gone to the arms of Jesus 1875.
Dearly beloved… never forgotten… 3 months… 4 years…
Little graves with little headstones.
I could not believe death had undone so many.

In the end we find our ancestors
read the messages
take the photo.
Climb back into the comfort of our car.

We pass a hearse, a crowd of mourners,
flowers, a newly dug hole,
nearby are rows and rows of tiny gravestones,
shining wetly in the weak sun’s rays.
From the far corner of the cemetery
to the new part near the gate,
nothing has changed.

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