The Other Ones
When the ground is soft enough for the spirit to stretch
beyond the numbers of endings and the numbers of beginnings
And the numbers stiff in stone grow warm in the spring sun
the cemetery down the hill fills with people walking.
I can tell the ones who aren’t ghosts because they notice my children
playing on the one patch of stoneless level grass just inside the gates.
The other ones are distracted by an old song in their ears.
The other ones, the ones carrying a large number in their arms
that is always one number larger than the last number they had
when the number was invisible and weightless and fit in a back pocket.
Some numbers are meant to catch, it is why they are shaped like lures.
Zero doesn’t catch, zero falls out of your pocket and you never miss it
And when you see it fall out of the laundry with the dryer sheet
you don’t worry that it’s ruined the rest of the clothes. A young
couple walk past us, hop over a stone wall on the way
to photograph tombstones. We see them come back, leaving
a trail of decimal points like breadcrumbs. When you’re a ghost
that stops you in your tracks, and you pick one up like a penny
and then spend the rest of your life trying to decide if the point
goes to the left or the right of your number.
You’re writing is so good!
Thanks Robert. I’m glad you’re here to read it!
“Some numbers are meant to catch, it is why they are shaped like lures. / Zero doesn’t catch, zero falls out of your pocket and you never miss it”
Ok. This one needs to sit in my head a while.
I want to know more about the zeros. 😦
Wonderful poem, as usual!!
Don’t let it sit too long! I don’t know what its “Best if read before” date is …
So many echoes in this poem!
Zeros fall out of your pocket! Oh, yes, they do. And sometimes they surround you with their emptiness, adding themselves to you to find only you. The hazards of nothingness…
Thank you, sir! Send me some of your stuff one of these days.