Children Workers at the Cemetery in Ayacucho, Peru
Above everything, you'll hear their laughter.
Above even the tame rooster with its missing leg,
always in the corner, always before the locals emerge
with their felt hats. There in the quiet hills, above a man kneeling
at his lover's grave, whistling, perhaps her favorite song,
above the Coke bottles stripped of their labels,
filled with rainwater and carnations, above the woman
carrying a body full of wrinkles, whose black dress
bleeds grey with the rainwater, children climb with flowers,
buckets full of soap, to wipe dust from the graves.
You'll hear stories about these children who breathe in
the smell of flowers, and one day, perhaps buried
in the cotton sheets of their parents' beds stop opening their eyes.
The mothers have grown accustomed to resting
their fingers beneath their children's noses,
afraid to feel the coolness of the night.
But all you know for sure is this moment.
Tiny mud-stained hands. Laughter.