richard hartwell

Casual Visitors

Sitting on a headstone, a bluejay cocks its head at the intruders.
A wild rose overpowers a nearby crypt with a profusion of white blossoms.

Both of them, side by side, deceased within a year of each other,
Resting beneath a California live oak, blanketed with the mottled green of fallen leaves.

Shattered light, splinters of illumination, and shards of fading memories,
All trickle through the branches, spreading across the plots, coloring their thoughts.

The bluejay scolds the visitors to be on their way, to end their interference.
The scrunch of tires slowly recedes down the hill as the cemetery returns to life.

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember, the hormonially-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California, with his wife of thirty-six years (poor soul, her, not him), their disabled daughter, one of their sons and his ex-wife and their two children, and twelve cats. Yes, twelve! He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing poetry, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.