Tombstones – Nicholas McGaughey


Easter Sundays we’d go with flowers
to visit people I’d never talked to.
It was a ritual, like cleaning windows:
remembering the dead. At Cadle,

Gran didn’t spend long with her mother;
a cursory swish of the marble,
a spray of daffs in a jam jar.
No words. No looking back.

At Caersalem, Grampa’s parents lay
overgrown with sally rhubarb
thrusting through the sandstone
like Japanese pipe-work. Here,

we hacked a manger ‘round the slab
of their little lives, and read-out the words
carved in Welsh, with more love than all
the tidied quiet on the good side of town.

Nicholas has new work forthcoming in Scintilla 23 and The Atlanta Review. He has had work recently in Popshot/Prole/Poetry Salzburg/Acumen/Marble/Poetry Scotland and “Poems About Running” (Smith/Doorstop.

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