Cemetery Blackbirds

by Steve Passey



When I was young

To try to sound smart

I would speak cynically

I’d say that “If it doesn’t rhyme, it’s not poetry”


I saw blackbirds flying

Sprinting in the sky above the cemetery

Over the white stones and bronze plaques

One for my Great Grandmother

Buried ninety miles away from my Great Grandfather

One for my best friend

Dead at nineteen

In a single vehicle accident

And I’d say something there rhymed


Another one: She and I in a brown Chevy pick-up

A cold night in February, heater on high

We drove into an industrial park

And parked away from the streetlights

We kissed for an hour

Our teeth clicked and our lips hurt

We kissed like sixteen-year-olds kiss

Trying to be quiet, not a word passed

And I’d say that rhymed too


I can’t speak it but I can see it

And I know what rhymes in spite of what I said