The Nameless

All summer I wander the cemetery

between the fenced-in family plots

and the ornate stone mausoleums.

Occasionally I find my way to the nameless

resting in the north corner;

orphans, tucked away

a century before

in that one place where

the sod struggled to take root.


There the markers are

little more than sand;

birthdates once carved

reduced to shadow,

as if those dates

were as inconsequential

as the bones tangled

in the roots below.


I wonder if their caretakers ever came

without planting another,

or if they sneer at them, even now,

through the white fences of the

manicured family plots across the path,

convinced that, as in life,

they were destined to make better dirt.


Along the perimeter,

an overgrown pyracantha

swallowing the black

of the wrought iron fence,

so that only the speared tips stretched

from the thorned belly,

every sprig  in late bloom;

fragility falling, fair petals

loosed from the branches

to which they cleaved,

spreading casually

where the headstones met the earth

as though there were some covenant

set to celebrate the value of their flesh,

so fleeting, so forgotten,

but so much more to me than

those who busied themselves

buying implied comfort

that will never delay the inevitable.



In Dubitum Veritas


What if he comes asking?


Every now and again I pause to consider—

what? Possibility? Odds are he might come


with tempest blessings, bearing

questions of creation, divine inception, asking how

he came to be in that womb, at that time, and he will know that


we share more than consequence; what then will I do?

Answer the bleakest of his ponderings, unfiltered, uncensored,

the untruth utterances that are not fit for the moment, or


condemn him to know that all men make faults

and my faults made him.


When the time comes,

we will choose whether or not to walk the curves

of the Mobeus strip together, to rehash inches lost and gained


with each rotation, to sift through the honest sands

of hindsight; perhaps then I’ll know

whether or not to share the tale of how our lives


were one day woven, torn, and mended;

but which truths will I tell?


From the symphony of sorrow and joy colliding, it is clear

that all truths are just the sound of the innocence dying.





It comes in flashes,

blurred as the world on the other side

of stained glass;


back deck in disrepair,

untreated, crippled and rotted;

across the threshold

mound upon mound upon mound,

dog kennel buried beneath,

Rubbermaid barrel

brimful with nasty;

compost stewed in pots,

sink full with dishes, water,

and week-old potato peels—

black something steaming with fruit flies;

hallway carpeted in clothes

wet towels mildewed

on disintegrating tile;

half the living room

occupied with cabinets,

ten-year-old renovations

not yet begun;

a shag carpet path,

stained and matted with fur,

weaving through the gauntlet of the unidentifiable,

puerile trappings

frozen in the periphery

decimated by hackneyed chaos;


and beneath it all,

the petals of the lotus

crushed to potpourri—

a reminder of good

long lost.


by  Daniel Ruefman

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