The sky was never so lovely
as that day we picnicked. The grieving
were far away, in another pocket
of the cemetery. A smudge
hugging the ground
was the widow.

But where we were the air
was fragrant with hibiscus.

We laid out our lunch
on a checkered cloth of reds
and whites. My mother
told me stories
of my father. He was a shadow
bending over her behind the church,

his kisses more memorable than any sermon.

There was a headstone
leaning, as if a Mr. Sanders
had grown restless in his sleep
and rolled onto his side.

There were children’s graves not much
bigger than shoe boxes.
And marble houses that looked
like small libraries.

And when I asked my mother
when we would come here
again she answered


Previously published in Mannequin Envy.

Bob Bradshaw hails from Florida, where he had the great pleasure of taking classes under novelist Wyatt Wyatt and poet David Posner. He defected from Florida decades ago and now lives in California. His poetry has been published in Mississippi Review, Eclectica, Apple Valley Review, Cha: An Asian Poetry Journal, Pedestal Magazine, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and many other publications.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “Good health.”