It goes with the territory

It’s very moving visiting John Etheridge’s poetry. And he’s a wonderful photographer as well.

the Book of Pain


I heard she made her kids promise to cremate her—
anything but anything not to go into that cold ground alone.
I remember…I was young, but old enough (and am now old,
but young enough) to know  how transitory it all was, even then:
how hot it was and she in just her bra, her kids looking scared
(something I was not used to and still wonder about)
while she smoked her long thin menthols and asked me
for a glass of ice water.

I wouldn’t, today, know one of my cousins (twice removed)
if I met one, nor have a clue, life being what it is, as to
their scatterings and shatterings, or what they embrace
and what they cannot. But I recall how slippery that glass was
with the condensation running down my back
and how the ice didn’t rattle as I handed it to her,
although it was a near thing. Now I rather think it might,
not that I care where they bury me.


The photograph was taken at Benjamin Franklin’s grave in Philadelphia, PA. To see…

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