A waning November moon reluctantly rose,
dimming from the full globe of the night before.
I drive a darkening country road, white lines sweeping past,
aware of advancing frost in the evening haze,
anxious to return home to familiar warmth and light.
Nearing a county road corner, slowing to a stop,
I glanced aside where
a lonely rural cemetery sits expectant.
Through open iron gates and tenebrous headstones,
there in the middle path, incongruous,
car’s headlights beamed bright.
I puzzled, thinking:
lovers or vandals would seek inky cover of night.
Instead, these lights focused on one soul alone,
a hand resting heavily on a stone, head bowed in prayer.
This stark moment of solitary sorrow,
a visible grieving of a heart
illuminated by twin beams.
This benediction of mourning
as light pierced the blackness;
gentle fingertips traced
the engraved letters of a beloved name.
as uneasy witness, I pull away
to drive deeper into the night,
struggling to see despite
my eyes’ thickening mist.
Angel of Grief, Stanford University Mausoleum