by W.B. Cornwell

In the weed-covered and nearly all but forgotten, once hollowed land,
I search for them –– William and Eliza.
Their blood courses through my veins and I am part of their legacy.

I walk the long path of patchy gravel.
I enter the lot of land where many bones are at rest.
The lawn is full of fallen branches and debris carried by the winds.

I look at the headstones, once grand and marvelous works of craftsmanship,
Now chipped, crumbling, and forgotten.
Many unreadable, some slowly swallowed by the earth- those that remain at all.

How did we let this happen?
Here, where Civil War soldiers lie, where town founders ended their journeys,
and where babies, taken by the scarlet fever epidemic, sleep.

How do we let legacies die?
How do we allow our ancestors to be lost in time?
How do we let their burial places become ruins?

As I walk row by row, I try to make sense of it all.
I read their names, the names of some of the streets in town.
I see the faded dates and I wonder, will I be forgotten in 100 years?

Finally, I find her name and the dates match the family Bible notes.
An obelisk marble monument, now moss-covered.
Hidden by weeds and marked with a lightning-bolt-like crack.

Next to her, I see his stone, her husband who followed years later.
His stood tall on a slab of puddingstone, rough but intact.
It showed his company and regiment, an honor to his service.

I stood there for a moment in the country silence.
I removed the weeds and cleared their area.
I left flowers and him a flag, a sign that they were still remembered.

W.B. (William Benjamin) Cornwell is an award-winning poet, novelist, genealogy blogger, and one half of the writing team known as Storm Sandlin. Since 2014, he has been published in over a dozen books. In 2016, he and his cousin, A.N. Williams, co-ran the campaign for Elwood, Indiana’s Poetry Month. He is also a featured writer for goodkin.org. He is currently working on a slew of writing projects, including various charity publications, loaning his voice as a co-author, and dabbling in screenplays.