One closely-mown square equals one thousand graves, shallow, and knowledge leaks like
cyanide leached from wild cherries into the grass the deer eat, and the cherries and the grass
and the deer diminish, like knowing the natural cure for insomnia, so the thousand keep
awake, their language asleep, to ponder a secret nobody can tell, and one of us wanders off,
maybe toward home, and one of us stays, wrestles with the historical marker planted over
ancestral bones, shoulder to shoulder, head to toe, so unexpected—the earth’s roundness,
the grace of the filled graves, the breadth of story reduced to posted signs in need of some
touching up, the desert’s approach, its expanse of ache and distance, brown and alive, the
gophers and ground squirrels tunneling among the bones.
Renee Soto’s poems have appeared in Chattahoochee Review, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Greensboro Review, Indiana Review, and storySouth. Poems are forthcoming in Cave Wall and Sou’wester. Soto lives in Bristol, RI, with her husband, their darling dog, and their venerable cat.