When Everything Falls Away

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"The Cemetery Gates" by Marc Chagall via Wikimedia Commons

This is the place of the dead.
Smooth, square, polished stones stand in a meadow.
There are names carved on these stones
As if to say, “This is who I was.”
There are two dates. One announcing
A little speck of life springing onto
The surface of the earth. And one, the end,
The last desperate cry that cries to the other
Stones and the occasional anonymous visitor.
“Remember me? I was someone who loved.
I lay in the dark wondering at the mystery of life
Just as you wonder now, looking at the little bump of ground
Where this once lusty body rests in an old brown box.”

Over the fence there is the prairie
And across the prairie, the mountains.
They too are made of stone but now
They appear hazy in the late evening sun.
And here I am–alive, sitting on a
Mound of dirt, drinking a cup of coffee
From the little café in town where
We all go at one time or another
To converse with one another to
Pretend as best we can and try
So desperately to make sense of this place where
We have been plopped down like a broken water balloon.

But in those dark nights of wondering our
Grinding brains grind and grind, trying to figure it out.
And, then the brain crashes and all those
Thoughts; the childhood friends, the facts
We devoured with such enthusiasm,
And, worst of all, those old, dusty philosophies, theologies,
And moralities fall into a hole under the bed. And you know,
Just like you know what it feels like to be hungry, that

There is nothing left to do but to remember all that has been loved and how
That love hums like the last note of a song that you can barely remember.

CM Brown is a poet as well as a yoga teacher and meditation instructor living in Louisville.