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Visiting the Cemetery in April 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Samuel Drenteln visits cemeteries
because the dead are easy to get along with.
Their ineffable presence is comforting.
Especially at nightfall, in the rain,
cemeteries have a dreamlike quality of inconsequence and unreason --
like life.
At dusk,
the tombstones appear to reach all the way to the horizon
and girdle the earth.
Samuel sees them as his personal recessional,
the ebbing away of his superfluous existence.
Some of the black granite memorials remind him of molars:
tombstones are gawking teeth in skulls,
black cavity windows in bone white houses,
or vacant eye sockets.
Wet slate walkways crisscross the cemetery in a fixed grid
resembling rigor mortis.
Obsidian shadows stalk the sublunary landscape.
He likes to take lovers to cemeteries.
The presence of the dead makes lovemaking more poignant,
especially in spring,
when April flowers perish before your eyes.
Coupling is as evanescent as cherry blossoms;
it too is dreamlike, unreasoning.
In a cemetery, even love can be deadening.
Maybe that's what an April visit to the cemetery is for:
rehearsal for the long run.
Hence the claim,
April is the cruelest month.

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Paul Mann

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