grave​-​digger dave buries the spade

from by Saint Rascal

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Dave slogs through thick mud as he weigh leighs his way to top
Dead Body snared in a plastic tarp; This was his last ditch summer job:

Working for his dad, Working for his dad he spits “Davey, don’t dig like a bitch.” He reaches the top and pulls the tarp back, there’s Mary from his high school chemistry class. Cold familiar skin brushes his hands, curdles his eyes, pummels his memories. Though this is a dry, unexpected goodbye he can’t help but stare at his feet.

He said “I want you to marry me” a decade back, when he was 23.
Scrapped knees, an answer too easy, she had better things to do than stay.

But as his father used to say “You’re either the stag or the shotgun”
And she ran away. He says “Everybody leaves eventually
And when a woman’s gone there ain’t nothing so pretty”

“You’re either a stag or a shot gun, No in between”
So he stayed home to dig the graves, Mary never called, unaware of his heartache. He wonders how she came back, desperate to see. And for a moment nothing breathes.

He asks his dad “what do we do now? Ignore the dead because the dead don’t count? Ignore the daisy chain days a decade away” When her fingers would calm his rioting brain. But his father’s been dead for years, Fell in front of a truck after too many beers. Windshield whiplashed away And poor Dave was the one who had to dig the grave.

Where is my father now? He went away. And though “Everybody leaves eventually when an assholes gone there’s nothing so pretty”

Why did everyone leave such a horrible place? Where no one gets by or grieves quite right, where tears are met with a smack to the face.

Well the dead can’t speak for the living, so he gets down to pray.
And he lays his hand over her white chest, and sends his blessing to wish her the best. Cradles her keeping safe, and brings her to the grave

No one needs a pedestal. We deserve to feel whole. This rest, a place we earn after it all.

Well you’re either the dead or the living, close, or far away. He knows everyone you love’s doesn’t have to stay close, but before they die, they gotta know you care.

And though some people want to slip away, so their matter erodes on the hills from the rain, like his mother’s Irish goodbyes.God bless saint Mary, the woman was right.

Dave strips off his white tank, shovel and ropes, he says “This is not the garden to grow my hope; takes the car to the one stop light road. Saying
“This will not be my grave. I’m leaving Man Town USA.”

Man, what a day.


from Leaving Man​-​Town, USA, released May 23, 2017



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