augury doggerel

Sunday, October 20, 2002


In the dark this morning, I went out to look at the cemetery and church at the end of Autumn Street, a little place I had never been, almost nothing on the map.

The church is a stack of nineteenth-century red brick built on a fifteenth-century foundation. I would have liked to see the inside, especially the basement, but I was out too early, there was already a dog barking, and I couldn't ask a priest before breakfast if he might let a foreigner sniff about his church's underthings.

I went instead to where no one bothers, in through the steel gate to walk the cemetery rows and think about names and ages and how each of them might have died. It was still mostly dark, especially under the trees, and candles still burned on the graves from visitors the night before. One grave near the front was fresh, a mound of gaudy cellophane-wrapped bouquets.

Then the first real snow of the season came down, blowing over the bare field, coming in through the trees and gravestones, making hot candles hiss. I went out and walked along the edge of the field up to the woods. I caught big flakes in my mouth.

As I went in to the trees, I met an old woman coming out. Just to talk to someone � just to talk to her � I stopped to ask whether this was the way to the Street of Astronauts. She didn't know but she smiled and seemed to like the idea. She certainly enjoyed the six laughing boys who then came around the corner wearing summer shorts and tee shirts and jogging in the falling snow. Another winter for her, too.


Post a Comment

<< Home