Monday, August 11, 2008

Miriam Sagan: MOUND HAIBUN

Suburban Cincinnati, at the Oddfellows Cemetery, 19th century graves marked by classical columns, urns, and obelisks—these last monuments Egyptian and therefore somehow suited to the dead as if these middle-class Germans were pharaohs. Names erode from the softer marble but not the granite.

the tops
of abandoned grain silos
festooned in trees

Flag limp in the breezeless day. And a mound—covered in grass and trees—in the center of the graveyard. This was a burial mound too, probably of the prehistoric Adena people. Once these mounds were everywhere by rivers and floodplains, until eroded by farming and development. There is also another mound here, small and spotted with the incursion of graves.

The cemetery protects these mounds, as does a local golf course.

And there is a large mound in Water Tower Park, which itself is just a strip of green alley between family houses. The mound is somber, looming, overgrown. Artifacts might include bones, a shaman's pipe, bronze antlers, hands carved in mica.

a dark feeling
in the maze
of dreams

Plastic swing sets litter the lawns, and the water tower also looms. This is an in-between place.

Facing the street is a white Victorian, gray shingled, with a handsome wrap-around porch. There are so many levels of time here that memory can't unravel them.

house on a small hill
beneath a running sky
storm clouds, then thunder

by Miriam Sagan
Santa Fe, New Mexico

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