At a Cemetery Door by Barbara Lydecker Crane

At a Cemetery Door

Her father said that she could go explore
the other graves while he sat down to rest
at Grandpa’s. Shedding Sunday shoes she wore,

she searched for recent dates, short spans–her test
designed to prove that modern-day children
rarely die. Subtracting brought success.

Then at a little tombstone house, her skin
prickled at her peek through the door.
She shrieked to glimpse the specter just within:

two ashen feet faced her on that floor.
She leapt and fled through gravel and cold grass
and blurted what she’d seen to Dad. In a roar

of laughter he reminded her that glass
reflects the looker. That girl of nine tried
to laugh and let it go. But it would last,

her cemetery sight–white feet inside
within a chain of days or decades more.
That vision stood and could not be denied.

by Barbara Lydecker Crane

Editor’s Note: This amusing terza rima doesn’t fall prey to its form. The story and characters are as important as the rhyme, and give us a glimpse of life and the memories that stay with us longer than we ever expect.

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