Infant Grave

by Julie Martin Hutson, In Memorium

The ground gapes, but only slightly, to receive this small one

It is as though the ground were a face and rather than open wide

It merely parts its lips.

The father gently places her into mother earth

Trusting trusting trusting

That someday they will see face to face.

The mother weeps into the arms of her own mother

Willing her to bear the unbearable

Until she can hold it without breaking.

And I, the one called to speak words of consolation

To surround this horror with holiness

Can only stand beside her, as sentinel of your presence.

One by one the people approach

Friend and family and neighbor and co-worker

No one knows how or why.

I look them each in the eye as they come

As if to say that the Divine One is here

Here for them too.

The sun begins to dip and the people begin to leave

And still I stand beside her

Beloved tiny dust tucked into mother earth.

The shovel heaps just twice to cover her

As if tucking her in

Now I lay me down to sleep.

I finally turn to go

Trusting that you, Holy Parent of us all, have heard our cries

And welcomed her Home.