In my month of tending family plots
in the village cemetery
I noticed not one member of my family
rested for eternity within this gated community.
My tendency to open whiskey bottles
folks left for the dead
as acorns fell from stately oaks.
I set shot glasses into the sod
and filled the clear glass to the white line
only to learn my efforts turned
a stray dog into a lush.
I wondered if the little dolls
leaned against gravestones
felt abandoned by the survivors
or were happy to be by their loved one?
Once they wilted, I removed all the flowers
that failed to fill open wounds
of the huddled bereaved
who muttered words they meant to say in life.
Some days whispers licked my ears
and I thought the dead a bit forward
with all their advice on how to outlast
bottles and jukebox dancing to last call.
copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney