You grew and you grew until you stopped growing
And there they planted a tree to mark your height;
Existence was measured in feet and inches,
Infancy meted out with a yardstick..
When you were tall enough, you walked away forever
Returning occasionally for holidays or a wedding
But soon not even those. You lost track of the tree
Standing alone in the yard, an orchard of one.
Then everyone else walked away, too. House and porch
Belong to others now. The cemetery
Is still there at the end of the road, beyond the curve
near the communal gardens, cramped and overgrown.
The dead don’t walk away so easily.
Occasionally, you still pass by. Between the tall pines
Your father planted, you spy on other lives
Unfolding as yours once did. You wave politely. Smiling
They wave back, welcoming you: stranger, time traveler.
Marc Alan Di Martino
This poem was published in a slightly different version here.