It's All Saints's Day, Festum omnium sanctorum, and the living outnumber the dead in our cemeteries. I take girl 11 and borrowed boy 9 to the cemetery after dark. They jump and dodge and skin their knees and lose a scarf; I walk behind. They eat candies; I chew cloves. They never stop talking; I take useless semicolons and unnecessarily elaborate possessive plurals. I wonder if there are any abbesses around here and, if so, what the abbesses's addresses might be.
The kids crouch and play with sticks at the edge of the candle field under a statue of Jesus and a photograph of the dead Polish pope. There are nuns here just now looking toward Jesus and the pope. I can see the nuns in profile and at least one of them is a man unless it's the books I read. When I look across the candles, my vision blurs (smoke, darkness, rising heat, wandering mind) and I imagine a painted medieval city, maybe in Portugal, burning at night.
We walk the rows of graves and boy 9 declares that he is bored, so girl 11 tells him a story she says she read in a book. There was a man who taught his son how to build wings from feathers and wax. The father warned the son not to fly to close to the sun but the son did not listen. He flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, the wings fell apart, and the son fell into the sea. This is better, hearing stories, but boy 9 is glad we're going home.
We try to show him the Wielki Woz, the Big Dipper, but he can't make it out. But there is Mars. He sees Mars. Mars is giant now. Mars is a burning ball in the sky.