Through the fourteen stations of the cross
Paul said nothing while groping around
for what was holy about this montage.
The only remaining voice in his head said
You are closer to God than his heart breaking.
I love you.
The elongation of late afternoon light
colored the garden walkway
with golden hues.
He knew he should be going—
away from other people’s holy space
leaving a ripple of air behind him.
There were so many spirits lingering here
unaware Charon’s pier was not
at the entry to these stations.
The weary sighs of the waiting
tore at him like he was a blessed loaf of bread
on a pedestrian altar.
He sensed this was not a typical day.
The voice behind and below his right ear said
Whistle a happy tune.
As he whistled bird calls he thought
how Pied Piper of Hamelin
to lead the dead away from the churchyard.
They followed him to the stonewall
at the edge of an orchard outside of town.
They rushed over the river of the setting sun’s rays.
Heading home Paul passed the churchyard
and in the dusk saw how much brighter
the stain glass parables shown illuminated from the inside.
As he entered his warm home
he knew he did not understand his madness
or ill-defined beliefs.
copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney
There is an edge.
A stonewall in a meadow.
Moss covered ground stones.
The meadow is full of flowers.
Both sides just as colorful.
Just as lovely.
You are injured.
You drowse with your back against the wall.
Head bent under your broad brimmed hat.
Your gentle breath pushes the breeze.
Just as easily it takes the breeze inside you.
You are unaware of the sweat bees on your arm.
Within your sleep you feel stings.
It is not the bees.
It is the memory dream of a CSI episode.
The sun shines equally on both sides of the stonewall.
The wildflowers snuggle up against the stones.
In some places they are high enough to hide the low wall.
Your father stands on the other side.
Swallowtail butterflies decorate his bare arms.
His bare feet bear dirt from his walk to this location.
Your mother waits on this side.
She calls out to you to finish your math homework.
To come to the kitchen for milk and cookies.
Her calling wakes you.
You stand. The bees take their leave.
Your shadow casts itself across the stonewall.
Your shadow alters its angle on the other side.
Confused, you pull back from your father.
You notice the greenery grows at different angles as well.
You walk across the field toward your mother.
Not because she called you. But for yourself.
Nothing to do with television characters.
Who grow louder as you cross the meadow.
You return to the antiseptic room with white walls.
Your mother reads aloud a poem from Now We Are Six.
copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney
The dead passed me one night
moving single file
over a forested hillside
on a trail I thought
worn only by me.
They stopped at the spot
where I liked to look at stars
within a ring of stones
that contained no signs
a fire had ever burned there.
I noticed they wore
a variety of clothes,
many wore hospital gowns.
I guess they wore
whatever they last wore in life.
As they stood between the stones
they were asked
in the voice of a train station agent
without a hint of judgement.
One by one they answered.
And their forms dissolved into cinders,
the types of which
I have seen emitted from
steam engine locomotives.
Once they were all departed
I mounted the knoll.
Between the crown of stones,
I found no trace of ash
nor heard any voice make inquiry.
I followed the trail back
and ducked through
the lighted doorway
into my cozy home,
where I leafed through university yearbooks.
copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney
It is important
while you live
that you talk
to the crows
a comfort level
with their acquaintance
since the ferry
across the river
is a myth
and to fly you across
only crows wings
will aid your escape
from earthly shadows.
copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney