Christmas Eve at the graveyard,
the children of a woman
who helped raise me sing “Silent Night”
for their mother. Rows away
my brother sleeps the long dream
beside my grandmother, my kin,
my people. Somehow snowfall
always seems to accompany angels.
Somehow we’ve made it through
the apocalypse, still waiting
in long lines at the chicken shack.
My daughter forever bundled
in sock hats and blankets,
a candy cane dripping off her face.
I start to tell her a story
but there is too much to say
and nowhere right to begin.
The first word she learned
was more of a song than anything,
more of a sound than sense,
the voices of those three women
lifting the spirit of their mother
who was a giant woman, hands
like the wings of a bird
born never to fly, baritone
and sweet in command
as all of us were children then
and family. In the distance the dogs pant
from a long run, a hawk
writes eternity in the sky,
the long white hem of her apron
dragging the holy ground.