We drive in a line of old Cadillacs and one faded blue Pontiac, like
Dead Heads to a show. Up the narrowing valleys to the West Virginian
hills, ever steeper as we climb, as ants up mounds of freshly turned
just past Easter
your body coffined
in the black car ahead
and yet the greening of hills
Kleenex boxes everywhere. People I don't know and will never see again.
Quiet voices murmuring. Slowly I approach your laid out body in a suit
you never would have worn. Mountain man. Your chest heaves upward with
an in-breath, or is it me?
brown embalming fluid
your mouth sags
lips so blue
one last kiss
A Methodist reads from a thumbed bible to your kin that you barely
knew. Some find solace from the shock of your youth spoiled.
Those in the caravan
squirm on the hard oaken pews like being in a dentist chair motionless
white walled chapel
with a podium
not your music
4. Family Plot
Markers in Morgantown. All the names. David, you are just another Hughes
now. Will anyone come visit you here on this lonely hillside, muddied
sod for ground?
the earth unearthed
placed deep within
a metal bronzed box
it begins to rain
A single tear drops to my upper lip and I lick the saltiness thinking
of your sweat.
Vieira is a student of Zen, haiku, and Japanese. She received her PhD
from Johns Hopkins University in Comparative Literature and Intellectual
History. She was a professor at the University of California at Berkeley
before retiring to write. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, USA,
where she spends much of her time with her first love, the sea
2005: Simply Haiku