(West Cemetery, Amherst, MA)

All the stones know people will come along.
Some purr and arch their hard backs in long
silences of open grass. 

Others have no name
remaining to be called to memory.  The wind
and rains have left them wild and irretrievable,

lying or standing in the loose cage of lost pasts.
The delicate shoulder of Emily's stone
encourages patting and cupping.

The thin monuments behind wrought iron
paw the rail like four trim hounds. 

I reach over, almost in
expectation of a nuzzle or a lick.  Kids led here,
as if past the rowdy pups and kittens,

are steered to the cutest creature. 
A distant train goes by in dull trochees,
bees bob at flowers propped

against black metal, two grave workers
lock tools in the mounded shed.
I am happiest when I see it this way.

  Ron Houchin
RON HOUCHIN has had two books published by Salmon Publishing of Ireland, Death and the River (1997) and Moveable Darkness (2002).  Pudding House published his "Greatest Hits" this past summer. His work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming from the following publications:  New Delta Review, Appalachian Heritage, The Stinging Fly (Ireland), Poetry Ireland Review, Phantasmagoria, Gloss, California Quarterly, Port Lore, Wind, and The New Orleans Review.