Southern Cemetery

The magnolia tree was perfect every spring
for hanging, for dark-syllabled requiescats
rambunctiously cavorting through the graveyard.
The children of the graveland, hollow and willowed,
crammed their mouths with captious blooms, each riper
than ancestral roses, and said to themselves,
“I am the ripper, the night-rippled revenant,
the distended distances of Satanic stars;
I will come back like an old sailor, drunk
at the bottom of the sea, and bear a lantern
through honeycombed tombs, as the dead whisper
the libanifluous eloquence of deep-oceaned speech.”
The children were home by 7:30, when storm clouds
grew green and muskmelons rotted on the rind.

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