An overcast Sundaythe led-dark curtain of clouds
        whispering into the afternoon with its humid sounds
        I went for a walk through the old neighborhood graveyard

The red squirrels darted in and out of the 19th century
         limestone gravestones that towered out of the
         damp grass, the names and dates like a dictionary

entry carved into them with a quirky newspaper font:
          TURNER, 1891, DeVos 1871-1920. REST IN PEACE,
          names puncturing time, breathing reality.

The grass-choked pathways of the place slowed me down,
          the magnificent northern pine trees handing
          out shadows like carpets of nothingness.

In one corner, a man sat on a fold-out stool, hidden behind
           a row of tombstonesbalding, loosening his
           tie, sitting cross-legged in his thin frame.

His eyes found me across the way from behind his cheap
           glasses, not stopping his soft crooning, holding
           some music in his hands.

I thought of whom he is singing fora wife who died from
           some kind of cancer? A mother he cannot forget
           since she passeda distant father he put off

making amends with until now, singing his favorite Abba song?
           The squirrels perched on the grave-tops, gnaw
           leaves, the women outrunning the boys,

running off up the pine tree barks, making them chase.
           I can hardly look at the man serenading his dead.
           We are all going to die, aren't we, and I keep

forgetting. When this body of mine, once the thing that
            kept women warm in the night, exhales into
            dust, beneath the loving earth, will there be

someone to sing for me? A lover who lasted through my
            lack of goodness, a blue-eyed daughter who
            trusted my cynical wisdom, a son who set out

to be a better man than I made of myself? The gravedigger's
            shack slants to the earth in its rusting white paint
            what makes it so difficult to repent before the end?

The serenading man might understand it, rocking softly to an
            unheard beat. We tear up the earths of ourselves
            when we have no one who sings for us,

but is there no one good for us if we prefer to be alone?
             He goes on singing in the awkward tie,
             the sharp-pitched melody a little off, faithful

as the northern pines the birds nest in, intoning along
             with him, serenading whomever they
             might find dead.