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Poetry By
  Karen Douglass

Published on: 6/25/2012
The Borrowed Grave

Grandfather Hill died too young
to own a plot, left his wife too poor
to buy one. Friends offered
consecrated space among their dead.
The widow sighed, buried him, remarried.

The new husband said, "A man
should lie among his own. I'll pay
to dig him up and send him there."
But the priest waved his hand,
"His family lies in heathen ground.
I will not let the body go."

And the widow said, "Watch me!"
Brought men with shovels and
a sheriff, and the borrowed grave opened
and the second grave welcomed him
to sleep among his kin, and his wife
lies deep beside another man in ground
which generosity makes holy, and a voice
from the past whispers,

"When I died, she planted me
where I did not rest easy. Now I am
a name in a book where my story leads
you by the hand. The old shepherd lost a lamb
when that priest denied her the right
to move my bones. I know what they did not,
that a body cannot but be buried in sacred space,
as the Earth is blessed by its own being.

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