Skull Valley, Arizona – National Poetry Month – 10

Skull Valley, Arizona

We’d hiked by the thicket all summer.
The twisted brush, vines, tall grass,
and an apple tree we kids thought wild.
In the fall, after the wind knocked
away the leaves and the rain
started to plaster the grass
to the earth, we noticed the wrought
iron fence. The gate bound by vines.
Inside, tombstones, seven of them, formed
a line. The most recent one over seventy
years old. The cracked and worn faces
slicked with old moss and the rain
we stood in. We were only junior high
kids and had only seen the manicured
cemeteries with flags, flowers, visitors,
and the backhoe parked close by –
the mechanical gravedigger. Who
was the person to fill the last grave
with a shovel in this lost plot?
Who left this place with the names
of those whose bones lay below
the rain soaked ground? We kids shivered,
wet in the wind, and hurried for home, still
unsure if the ghost stories we’d read
were true or if we’d stumbled into a thicket
we’d be lost in with the fog rolling down.

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