Butternut Ridge Cemetery
From the back seat my six-year-old asks
about the grandfather who died
when she was four months in the womb.
She wants to know about his favorite color
and what he likes to eat, correcting herself
to say “liked” to eat. She wants to know
what being dead means, for real.
I know children ask full force till
they get what they need, like the time
my oldest asked why people have skin
darker than his, and seconds into
my big-wattage answer
interrupted to ask
why faucets turn “this way”
twisting his hand, “to make it hot.”
But she doesn’t stop asking
and since we’re driving past
the cemetery that minute, I pull in.
She skips around his gravestone
as if in a park, touching dusty
pebbles and leggy buttercups, before
announcing to air and ground
and everything between,
“I’m sorry you’re dead Grandpa.
You would have loved me.”
About the Author: Laura Grace Weldon has published three poetry collections: Portals (Middle Creek 2021), Blackbird (Grayson 2019), and Tending (Aldrich 2013). She was named 2019 Ohio Poet of the Year. Laura works as a book editor, teaches writing, and maxes out her library card each week. lauragraceweldon.com
Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Small Sunflower” (2021)