All Souls Narrative

Picnics by the graveside, skull candy, many
lights inside the darkness, families

the dead who live again in heaven always
and with us here just now in our memorial

ways; if

family outings can be sacred, then this
is it.

There was a small cemetery across
the street from where I lived; I would

walk there and once
enjoyed a staring contest with a deer.
We’d look; whoever took a step toward
the other, the other would move back:

an hour of this, and we were done.

On another night and once a year, respectful
people would show up to place a candle
on each stone; this was

unofficial yet quietly and happily done—a
day of the dead
for the living.

There was music, too.

The deer would object, I’m sure, the
flames, the crowd, the noise
however small, and all; but

Deer has all the forest behind
and, I’m sure, its own way
of remembering, as I

remember her
in the days I have until remembrance
will be for someone else.

C L Couch