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The ranks of small town dead

Ranks of our small town dead spread out like ships at sea, room enough for all. The oldest graves are closest to the winding path. No flowers adorn them, neither plastic nor live. They have been dead for a long time —their people too. Some of the stones are lichen crusted, moss coated. These are the dead who have no people left here to tend them. These are the ones dead so long that maybe they have no people left anywhere. A gone tribe.

Further from the path the rows of newer graves are moss-free and festooned with mum-filled urns. Early in the day, you can’t cross the grass to these graves without getting your feet wet. Later the sun climbs high enough to dry the dew.

Beyond it all, the row of shade trees. Beyond that the almost empty morning park. It’s too early for playground children, the wrong season for little league or pee-wee football to crowd the fields beyond the swings and teeter-totters. Early mornings, it’s only the drug deal makers working to fill the field beyond the newest graves. It would be simpler to stretch out now, you high boys. Lay down there, on the park side of the grass, so near to the rows of stones we’re all headed for—though you’re headed there quickest.

Lay down, boys. Let the dew cool your back as you contemplate your next move.

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