Family Cemetery

by Bill Edmondson

A clash of whirling galaxies
Utter their light through the black of the brain
Of a man standing among bones and dust
In a weedy field    eastern Arkansas

Many of these    the dead in Christ
he feels were fed meringue of salvation
Wait here to rise
And the words on the sign on the church
Under the rusting star
Read: “Jesus Coming Soon”

While this man    curious
Dreams of a fabulous craft
To break through space and time
To knock about    see if anything’s home

          After class one day    his student    an old man
          Showed him a photograph
          Of a proud young pilot in the Chinese air force
          But they’d taken his wings    assigned him a wheelbarrow
          For decades he’d pushed it full of stone
          Along the base of the crumbling Wall

All flight is fantasy
And the teacher knows how little he knows,
Can only guess that these who peered through smoke,
Danced with shine
Had only the turmoil they lived
Then the box and dirt shoveled down,
That their name his name
Smoothed by wind and rain
Is at last    wind and rain