Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Elizabeth

Old Cemetery, Owensville, Ohio

I said good morning to her every day
on my way to school.

The rain-flattened engraving kept a century’s
secret, on a headstone leaning after
too many Midwestern winters.

I pretended to know her: “wife of ______”,
though she’d long since sifted
down to dust and bones
beneath the roots of our village.

I invented her tragic death,
looked for signs,
willed her to haunt me.

I imagined skeletons
with high collars
and tangled hair
hiding behind the dresses in my closet.

Halloween: I dressed in cream linen,
bobbed for apples, waited for Elizabeth,
scanned the fields for see-through
shapes on our hayride.

She didn’t show,
but I still insisted a handprint,
red paint smacked against
our shed window, was hers.
 
 
Kate Garrett was born thirtysomething years ago in southern Ohio, but moved to the UK in 1999. Her work has appeared in online and print publications, including Buddhist Poetry Review, Ink Sweat & Tears and Word Bohemia. She lives in Sheffield, England with her three kids, three cats, and a computer programmer.

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Categories: Halloween / Autumn

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