The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
Dinner on the Ground
By M. Alouette
We rose to bake biscuits and wash the quilts Grandma made her last year of life.
We rose to whisper prayers, comb our hair, and promise a day of joy, not strife.
We rose to collect our flags and flowers into bundles tied up for the truck.
We rose to load everything and ourselves, huddled like ducks in the back.
The War between the States ravaged our farm and our state long before I was born,
but I remember it with my family once a year, every year, come Memorial Day in May.
The county comes together at the cemetery for a potluck of fried chicken and corn,
sausage and gravy, collards and kale, custard and peach cobber, crab and Old Bay.
We visit the fallen soldiers, like my great-uncle Steven and his not-so-secret lover,
the lover my family only came to recognize after they received that fateful letter.
Sometimes Mama and I sit on the porch braiding ribbons and twisting wreathes
the week before the gathering, the week before the dinner on the ground,
the week before I watch my Auntie Jolene wring her hands as she grieves
because she still recalls when things were not so civil between the North and South.
But this year we are too poor for wreathes so we focus on feeding the mouth,
not the eyes, and all our flowers—necks cracked, heads falling—were found.
As we break our bread, Daddy says he heard a report of a new war in Europe on the radio,
one greater than the last, and that he reckons we'll be visiting far more graves in a year.
#Nostalgia #MemorialDay #CivilWar #CivilWarCemeteries #WarBetweenTheStates #Confederates #Confederacy #USHistory