Memorial Day

The trees in the cemetery compete with the dead
For space, a neutral zone that does not care
Which nation commands it. I stand at the cusp
Of two world bordered by yew trees and myrtle
Facing a stone: “Beloved Father”. The little flag

Flaps meekly at his side in the summer heat,
Just one of the regiments that fan out
Around me, each one married to a stone like canes
To the weak. But there is no weakness here,
All is hard and absolute, as real as the iron sky

Rising like a cathedral dome over a high mass.
And if I hear thunder in the leaves, the roar
Of bullets and bombs, it is only the wind
Circling this small earth, wrapping its arms
Around the dead and all that stands over them.

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

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