Depart & Return: A Family Ritual

Sundays are mandated grievings.
Bodies of men suspended
between here and somewhere.
Women who sob through sharp tongues
and stretched bellies.
We ache with the weight of gravity’s pull.
Beat fists bloody against gravestones.

We are the sons left lonely
sharing the long, cold shadow of loss.
What remains of widowed mothers?

They hover —a recurring assurance
we too don’t disappear.
Ground swallows sky as we circle.
Rows of kin etched in a grassy stretch.

On this day we must mourn distance.
Weather ruin and a cruel wind.
On this day the air is hot.
On this day the rain is frozen.
We search for signs of life.
A small sprig rising from the dust.