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Iantha Memorial Day

By John I. Blair

Each year we gather in Iantha—
Well, really just outside Iantha,
As this is where the cemetery
Lies (the graves so horizontal)
Or stands (the stones so vertical).

Well, anyway, we gather here
Informally, with no appointment,
But nonetheless quite sure to see
Most every living relative we have
In Missouri if we wait long enough.

And while we wait, we wander,
With floral presents for
Selected graves (which ones depend
On personal ideas of who
We most feel like giving flowers to—

For me my grandfather, my
Grandmother; for others brother,
Sister, cousin, uncle, aunt)
And few seem sad to be here,
Unless their loss is recent.

Most are glad to see those living still,
If once a year and in among the dead.
We draw the line at holding picnics, though
(As we’ve heard some folk do,
But not our family in Missouri—

We’re far too Anglo-Saxon).
We will feast later, but at
My Aunt Eldora’s house in Liberal,
For no one living remains here in Iantha
After more than a century of years.

Here in the cemetery we will just talk
Or stand together silently
Or walk around again, re-forming for
An hour or two into this annual brief
Community of the living with the dead.

©2002 John I. Blair

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