Two Hills

Two Hills

For my cousin Pete Patterson

June 2017

There was a standpipe

On the highest rise,

Above my Grandma’s house.

And to the west, a cemetery

Always neatly shorn

Forbidding to a child born from its ceremony.

It was a maze of polished granite

And of mounds

The length and shape of bodies

And all about, the smell of rotting flowers.

There was nothing there that could be trod upon

Though once a year, we Baptists made

A pilgrimage to decorate

And dump the putrid water from the vessels by the stones.

The Catholics were not there, my Mother said.

They had their own hill above a fen

Outside the town where guileless cicadas sang and crows

And Irish bachelors lay in straight flat rows

Beside the matriarch and spinster kin.

“Where Grandma Pat will go,” my Mother said.

Below the standpipe was a gentle slope of grass

Where cousins played with balls and bats

And dogs could run without a leash.

And did.

About Llyn De Danaan

LLyn De Danaan is an anthropologist and author. She writes fiction and nonfiction. Katie Gale: A Coast Salish Woman's Life on Oyster Bay was published by the University of Nebraska Press. She is currently a speaker for Humanities Washington.
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