Author’s Note: “After losing my mother to cancer when I was twelve years old, the cemetery where she is buried became a complicated place for me of expectation and mystery. When I became a mother myself, I traveled back home to Tennessee with my son and watched his young eyes upon her grave. This moved me to write a poem.”
How To Walk Among The Dead
My dad took my older sister
to the cemetery on Sundays
to practice for her driver’s test.
I sat in the backseat of our Jeep Wagoneer,
waited for my turn
to drive those crooked hills
that led to where my mother was buried.
I never knew how to be at her grave.
When I was older,
I brought my girlfriends and a case of beer.
We smoked Camel Lights on damp grass,
interpreting the rustle of leaves
or the Calico cat that passed by
as signs of her presence.
I brought my son there years ago⎯
a summer thunderstorm
had knocked large tree branches
onto her gravestone like omens.
We moved them away, piece by piece,
careful not to step on other stones,
his young face, uneasy,
looked up at me for guidance,
for lessons of how to walk
among the dead.
Jennie Linthorst’s two books of poems, Silver Girl (2013) and Autism Disrupted: A Mother’s Journey of Hope (2011), were published by Cardinal House. Her writing has been published in Forge, Kaleidoscope, Foliate Oak, Literary Mama, Mothers Always Write, Sanskrit, and The Art of Autism. She is certified in poetry therapy from the National Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy. Website: www.lifespeakspoetrytherapy.com.
Delmarva Review publishes the best of new prose and poetry selected from thousands of submissions annually. Designed to encourage outstanding writing, the literary journal is nonprofit and independent. Editors welcome submissions in English from all writers. In addition to sales, the editors are thankful for the generous financial support received from individual tax-deductible contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Please see the website: www.DelmarvaReview.org.