Construction Literary Magazine

June 2019

Kin

Kin

Photograph via Flickr by Jonathan Goforth

My father’s father was
a gravedigger. He scraped the dirt
from under his birdclaw finger
nails every night to a
symphony of crickets and rocking
chairs, the stones of the dead like an
audience asleep on
the hill beyond his windowpanes.

He was said to have loved turning
over earth, loved the lone
ceremony of the shovel and
the damp smell of cemetery
violets mutely trampled
underfoot. Through him my father
learned a certain reverence for
decay, for fading. He learned the same dirgewalk
and he grew the same shadows
beneath his eyes. Everyone thought

My father would don the same gray
uniform and prune the same
roses that grew wild on
the edge of the land. But my father
picked the roses instead. He’d learned
to see the glimmers in that night.