I . Early this morning we hurried To the flower shop Before the bus came .
The old woman working Recognized my mother , Saying she remembers My grandparents . Her blue-veined hands Picked out the heaviest Chrysanthemums . She looked to us and smiled , Sharing that they were strong And would look nice Against the gray headstones . She placed them in an empty Plastic bottle and wished us All the best .
II . On the bus , the flowers Sway in my hands Losing a few petals Beside the ripped vinyl seats .
III . The gloss of the chalky granite Has softened from years of rain And the weight of snow . I pour the water And watch as the cracks begin to darken Then bleed down the stone Beside their names , Around the years , Then into the overgrown weeds At our feet .
IV . As we pick up the spades And kneel down to our knees , The sparrows gather above us , Fly up in dark spurts , Then dip towards the fields Just past the gate .
Our hands fold In prayer for A moment ,
Then we find The roots And pull .
We drive down roads Of torn skin , Pockmarked And discolored .
Mary Margaret Shaw is a junior at The University of Wisconsin of Eau-Claire , currently studying Critical Studies in Literature , Film , and Culture . She is a first generation American as both her parents emigrated : her father from Canada and her mother from Ukraine . She loves fat cats and has a fear of pet fish .