Cemetery in Southern Spain

From far we could see it, the long path,
cypress-lined, planned for long
processions to contemplate
what lies ahead, coffin
or urn, locked up
forever behind grey stone.
We imagine yet another funeral,
yet another accepted loss
in a small community.

As God wills.
Clutching her rosary
a mother rearranges
dark curls on a white silk
cushion. She was only six,
Holy Father.

The old men sit in the square,
their black boinas shoved
to the back of their heads.
It’s hot. Walking sticks
between their knotty hands.
They know they soon won’t
need them anymore.
The only question, who’ll be next?

Forty days of mourning. The women
stay in black. There are not enough
days without the dead to
dance the paso doble in
flirtatious floral skirts.
Slowly their backs bend
to the will of their church.

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels, one full-length poetry collection and two chapbooks, her work has been widely published in mostly US poetry journals. Her latest full-length poetry MS, The Rain Girl, has been published by Chaffinch Press in August 2020.

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