Long Trips Are Good For Me

Everything was beautiful and exciting there in the lush weeping grid of the cemetery. The parchment paper folded into my jacket creased and crunched with my steps. I thumbed the bits of charcoal in my jeans front pocket.

When I found the mossy tombstone—my quarry: the name—I knelt and began my ritual prayer of forgiveness. Though I play at the edges of unknowing, truly I know our part is not knowing.

Cicadas sang low to high from the surrounding willows. A thick, moistened silence followed. I placed the parchment on the gravestone and scraped the charcoal across, catching the relief of the epitaph, the range of a passed life. I took my time etching the tombstone’s skull, its eyes bold Xes, filigreed wings stretched out below the name of the dead.

THEOPHILIS QUATERMAINE PINCHES
SHIPWRIGHT, HUSBAND, FATHER
1710–1760

I sat in the walking path between gravesites and ate my lunch, a cucumber sandwich and a thermos of sweet tea. I folded the parchment back into my jacket and set off toward the mausoleums.

Walter Martin’s latest album is Reminisce Bar & Grill. The first song on this Tiny Desk set is “I Went Alone On A Solo Australian Tour.” It twists the call & response trope to fun effect. Check it out!

[Photo by tup wanders]

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