Kali Rose Schmidt
The graveyard was the ideal room for
walking to think,
thinking to walk.
The moon hung full in the blackness above and
fallen rain drenched every blade of grass below.
The bodies beneath were getting an au naturel moisturizing treatment.
Organic sheen-like mist on their milk white bones.
A crumbly stone
drew my eye.
I can’t say why,
but it appeared to me
as if the moonlight shone on this stone like a soliloquy
in a dark and doomed theatre.
The name was illegible,
the date even more so,
but it was broken in half, cracked down the middle,
and the hairs on my arms stood up and I began to think perhaps
this was the work of a magnificent bolt of lightening
like a flash
from a wand or a gasp
from an oracle when she sees a coffin in your tea leaves.
Perhaps it was more cursed than we already tend to be.
But there was, too, a smell –
rotting flesh and chewed up fingernails.
Nothing so obscene to sway me away,
only a reminder of our short stay.
I squatted down, hovering above the damp graveyard grass,
and leaned in to examine the ominous stone with precision,
my heart fluttering nervously in my chest like it does during revisions.
It was then I saw, underneath a waterlogged branch,
Pale with long slender fingers, death blue nails, severed cleanly at the wrist.
A silver ring encircled the index finger.
If I had to guess,
only if I was pressed,
I would say the hand was female.
Women have a way of rising from the dirt like that.
In the distance,
I could feel the echolocation
of a bat’s vocation
and it seemed
as if he was delivering a warning –
to stay away,
leave the palm in peace.
Bats know this type of midnight
I gave him the benefit that the creatures of the night should get,
and with a nod to the beautiful, body-less hand,
and continued to circle the cemetery.
Aware now that bodies separate off into limbs sometimes among the dead
in the same way that minds separate sometimes from bodies in the living.
We all have our own way of handling the graveyards.
Kali Rose Schmidt is a writer and mother from North Carolina, living in Toronto, often mistaken for being Australian when she speaks. She has work published in Moonchild Magazine, as well as publications with HuffPost, Scary Mommy, and Romper. Her first chapbook, about feminism and family, entitled All That She Can, debuted in August of 2018 from The Poetry Box.