It's just poetry, it won't bite

The Next Time I Die

05.09.11 Posted in words to linger on by

Rob Krabbe’s most recent appearance here was with Bye, Bye Blackbird. His poem tonight is not exactly a narrative, not exactly a persona piece. Pretty good, right?

The Next Time I Die
By Rob Krabbe

This is one hell of a great cemetery.
One of the best. People stay dead
here. Deep within the well kept walls
of thick old magnolias that grow slow
and steady, fully unconcerned with
the plans and schemes of man.

My great grandfather planted the trees
here almost eighty years ago. Breaking
the warm southern wind during graveside
services all these years in return for
feeding them with our dead.

I love being here. Sometimes I watch
the long lines of black dressed mourners,
the madness jumping out of cars, running
up to the tents, nervously sitting and praying,
shuffling off some guilt and running away,
back into the cars and off. Mostly I pray
for a slow steady rain so it feels like
an old black and white movie.

I love the manicured lawns too, the perfect lines
and corners rounded beautifully. Pots of plastic
flowers placed with precision on the same
spot of each grave, all decent and in order.
Flowers that will never die, lining the rows
of graves of people who never lived.

There’s the spot. Under a dying oak, on the
edge of just one more row. Red dirt, smells
like a rusty old working field in the rain. If I
thought that dirt would love me back, I’d lay
down right now in the shade of that last tree.

Another line of black cars pull around the 
back road, and out the gate like molasses.
The mourners already on cell phones making
plans for the rest of the day. Behind them,
slow and graceful, like a ballet, two old men
crank and lower the dearly departed into
the rich southern red clay.

One Response to “The Next Time I Die”

  1. bobbie troy says:

    Very powerful and real.

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