I awoke just past dawn,
pillow-headed, the lamp still
burning from last night’s read,
my neck a rusty hinge.
Then I remembered my dream
of loss, peopled by a cast
of former co-workers I barely knew.
Today, I promised,
I will love no one & no one,
nothing, shall love me in return.
If, exhausted by the blunt ironies
of the highway, you stop late
some afternoon at an old cemetery
laid out in a churchyard alongside
an unmarked two-lane, you may be
the only visitor walking the rows.
The caretaker, hearing the metallic thud
of the car door slamming shut,
the hurt-kitten whine of the front gate,
might stroll over for a look-see.
He’s an old-timer, lanky, white-haired,
his face a bit flushed from two hours
of raking & sweeping. He will fiddle
with his pipe & give you the once-over
but he won’t interfere. He’s seen
his share of lone travelers drive in