Greyed Posts Below the Tree Line

In my month of cleaning the mountain
I learned the location of old grave stones.

Butchered animal bones littered
the dirt inside an old stone foundation

along with rusty accouterments
and leather scraps.

Misplaced nut and fruit trees struggled
to ignore the blind rag doll half-buried in pine needles.

A snake escaped through last year’s leaves
making a grating sound that curled my spine.

For all my washing the whispers of the dead
lay insulated under the soil.

A rusted and shivered muzzleloading musket
spoke of open wounds run red

but not the gravedigger or stone carver
or what dangerous cure was in cobalt blue shards.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


I need a ride.
I do not have time to walk.

No one answers my calls.
My smart phone does not know who is available.

There is Lyft.
But money remains scarce.

The walk will do me good.
It may tire me out before I reach her grave.

A walk usually sorts my emotions.
Walking meditation is better than driving meditation.

Meditation is better than medication.
Today I need big medicine, man.

No, her grave is not on the rez.
It is up in the mountains.

One of those small family boneyards.
Pioneers from long ago.

It is up among the aspens.
I trespassed on some old claim.

Added her ashes to the earth.
One foot north of Josiah’s headstone.

Josiah’s last name is lost to time.
His headstone is cracked and weather beaten.

Numbers state seventeen-ninety-nine-dash.
He was born on my birth month and day.

There are four other unreadable markers.
Lichen splotched stones outline the size of the yard.

Her ashes are under one of those stones.
I scratched her initials onto that stone.

She is neither in nor out of the pioneer boneyard.
The aspens migrated over the plot.

No trail leads up there.
I start where a stream passes under the road.

My feet always know their way through the wild
to those stones among the aspens.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney