Hearts and Histories

I suppose this is leading to a toughening of my soul.

The faces and places through which I have been sifting aren’t mine. I’ve perceived a least portion of the meaning below the lines on his face and to the tilt of her chin. Obituaries are the finial polish to our public image, and it damn well better shine or leave it to one line: born; died.

My maternal great grandmother typed up the family history in literal white wash. Even the graying type lay lightly upon the page as the typewriter ribbon bleached slightly from one paragraph to the next. “They came west as ministers of the Gospel.” I suppose the brothers might have breathed in a few days of Almighty fear when they fled those who hunted them for thieving the horses they rode, but the only cross in their future was a crossroads.

In others’ lives, marriages of necessity. Military honors on a tombstone as deserved at the close of a long life as the abrupt halt of a short one. The one man who rounded out to a half-dozen the men who survived the sinking of a war ship. A woman who ran from one man’s fist to the next man’s kick, leaving children strewn throughout her flight. The child buried without a marker beside the pioneers’ trail.

Race and wealth—remains in clear divisions. We stake out territory in soil that is not ours in life and death.

I love this hobby of mine. If it were only wet toes from dewy grasses and wind to tangle my hair, I could walk through every cemetery where trespass was not implied. Except my heart is in it.
©2013 Sandra Davidson


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