In the dark, the church was a clown
with a dunce cap tower,
two sleepy, lavender windows
and a bricked mouth,
whose illuminated pink lips
frowned into an archway.

It stood kitty-corner
from a somber cemetery,
preferring its own best company.
Gravestones yellowed in the low lamps;
the remaining teeth of an old soldier,
smiling in a grass face
right through the jagged-leafed chestnuts
at the third watch losing interest.

I knew you were in there
somewhere under the plot-fringe,
where I buried you,
before I excelled at never
looking back,
so was the tree I climbed
over those same markers
years before,
dragging a banjo with me
clawhammering to the shadows
of things to come.

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