My Mother is Buried

My mother is buried on wind-swept

high-ground in a tiny ignored


The grass-spare plots are surrounded

by immaculate plowed fields

that never see a crop.

Every month I buy artificial flowers

at Wal-Mart and stuff them

into a cone filled with green

styrofoam, then

I get on my knees and pull weeds

away from the base of the tombstone.

Usually, I set up a lawn-chair and read

her poetry.

As far as I know she never read poetry

in her entire life, but she did

read the Bible so I always include a few


Mostly though, the poetry is for myself

hoping that somehow that is okay.


Lately I’ve been reading her Blake.

Sometimes I read Herbert or Hopkins

thinking that maybe she would like

them better.

If I am there late in the day I usually get

drunk and have to sleep awhile before

I drive home.


One warm summer night, last July, I fell asleep

(passed out) and woke up at three a.m.

to a gray fox trying to eat the yellow

and blue plastic flowers.


Sky over Indian Hills

Silk-screened pink sky tucks behind

the four mesas, the

four of them a worm-hole to the west, and

Comanches, only a hundred years gone.


I lean against oak trees with purple-brown

leaves, some falling like dead dark

snow, while my heels dig

into the sand of an overgrown peanut field.


Sky darkens but still is dominant,

the earth a postcard. Fleeting memory is a

plaything of the infinite and soon the stars will

laugh at the tiny trees and miniature creek.


Hills darken and are gone, pink gone too,

everything consumed by hungry time

and heaven.


I sit long into the night,

coyotes in the distance,

leaves rattling in the woods.

I think that means birds but it might mean

wild hogs.


I go back to the cabin that I have left well

lit, the brightness reminding me that I am

alive and important.  Just a ruse really.


I know that in the morning the sky will

be blue and the Indian hills will

be the focus of the sun.


John T. Waggoner

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