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In a Maryland Graveyard

by Peter Roberts

Close reads the name
Inside interlocked hearts
Above a double grave.
Never closer in life, you
Now lie side by side,
No longer worried
The other might stray.

The stone reads Valianti,
And no stone could seem
More valiant. Solid, wide
Red marble, with elegant
But simple engraving;
The corners curve
Then fall to the ground
— not at right angles,
But with a more
Encompassing span.
Did you face your life
With such courage? Die
With such grace?

Massive headstone, thick,
Square-cornered. Firm,
Deep-chiseled letters
Spell the word POWER,
A cross at each side
— quotation marks;
Is this a last
Desperate grasp
At what you vainly sought?
Or a doomed attempt
To hold hard what you had?

Large gravestones
Rise up, islands
Amid anonymous seas
Of smaller, weather-worn
Self-effacing grave markers,
Many of which
Can no longer be read
— comfortably quiet.

Copyright © 2020 by Peter Roberts

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