My mother gave me her love of cemeteries
And words—those carved into stone monoliths
As well as those scrawled across the back of
Receipt paper and notepads stained with old
Coffee drippings. She gave me skinned knees
From kneeling in front of gravestones taking
Rubbings of the names and strange symbols,
Of the stories clawing out of the stale, dead
Earth or bursting through the broken door of the
Old mausoleum. She gave me lips
Stained with letters and ears eager to
Eavesdrop on the melodic conversations of
Eccentric strangers. She showed me the mist that only
Gathers at 4:07 in the morning in late October
When the leaves crisscross the tops of graves
Yet to be dug. She taught me to hear the
Murmurs in the ground around coffee shops
And subway stations and dark clearings when the
Moon hits just right. We are words, stone, mist,
And eyes, with dirt on our knees and callouses
On our fingers from gripping the pen so
Tight we felt we might break right through
The thin veil that covers the
Graves and syllables, ghosts and symbols.
In my open palms lies my inheritance:
Death, shrouded dreams, and creation.

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