Henrietta

My dead don’t haunt a place;

they haunt me.

And I don’t mean in the way,

like when they say,

“Oh, the memory of her haunts me so!”

I mean that they stand with me, just behind

so that when I turn around they’re still out of sight,

but I know that they are there.

My grandmother took me to a garden

just last week,

even though she’s been dead eight years.

I could see her on the bridge that went over the stream,

her hands placed behind her back just so,

fingers curled around a wrist.

And she walked slowly across, looking.

Hosta

Juniper

Rhododendron

Birch trees

Lily pads

And half a million other things I couldn’t dare to name,

but she would have known them,

and if she hadn’t been just out of earshot,

on that bridge,

I would have asked her to name them for me.

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