November is a time to remember those who have left our world. There’s All Souls Day and Veterans Day. The sky fills with birds, flying into the distance. The leaves have fallen and the ground hardened with frost.
There is another village on the outskirts of town where we keep our memories. A place where it’s easy to travel though time and space.
The other village
The village I grew up in has mostly moved to Bayside now,
settling along the winding lanes under the big maple trees
beside the Raquette. The old WWI vets from across the street
were lately joined by the WWII vets around the corner.
The shopkeepers from Main Street, the barbers and cops,
teachers and coaches, librarians and Rotarians, all here now.
I recognize names of paper route customers, old neighbors,
scribed into the leaf-blown stones above their life dates.
It is quiet here, far from the road noise, and is lovely, really,
in better weather than November. My own dead lie south
in a tree-covered park up a long hill from the Susquehanna:
parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, half a family tree.
They visit me in dreams sometimes, though I rarely visit them.
I wouldn’t have come to Bayside at all, but someone needed
to be with their father and lacked the ride. We park a while
out of the wind, each lost in memory, watching flat gray water.
Note: Published in “Blueline” 2022