A Visit – Vincent Edward Manda
The graves were covered
In the white powder
Of an early February morning.
The chimney of the little stone house
At the edge of the land;
Next to the church
By the gate,
Issued plumes of smoke
Disrupting still fog.
The chills and shivers
Coursing through my body
Were not for the fear of apparitions
Or thoughts of death.
Out of the little stone house
A woman clad in black
With her head down
Appeared carrying a tiny vase.
She paused for an awkward moment
To tighten the shawl
Around her hunched shoulders.
The smoke from the chimney
Had died away slowly
The fire was out
And had turned to carbon and ash
What was once flesh.
Outside it was cold
And the silence was broken
Only by slow shuffling and crunching sounds.
In a distant place
Walt Disney’s head sat in a freezer
Awaiting new life.
Sitting there, watching the woman
And her clad in black entourage
Criss-crossing their way through moss, ice and snow covered headstones,
I thought of the end of the world.
It is said to have known desire
Is to call upon fire
And that for everlasting hatred
Ice is required;
One completely obliterating all in its path
The other preserving everything in cracks
Like mummies embalmed forever.
All traces of black had vanished.
I placed my flowers,
Lit a cigarette with a match,
Let it burn down to my freezing fingers
Then left without having decided
Whether it should end
In fire or in ice.