Real Toads Tuesday Platform: Country Burial

This is posted for Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

Country Burial
A Cairn –
Placing a few rocks one on top of the other,
dug from the hard red clay.
My mother’s ashes reside here,
in the country cemetery
nestled in her mother’s grave.
I drove the several hours down to Bahama
to the Mount Moriah Church –
where most of our ancestors lay.
The first one laid to rest was my
great-times-many grandmother –
buried with her infant son on her breast.
Since 1790. A long time.
My mother is the most recent.
I dug the hole,
wrestling with the drought hard ground
rusty red…the blood of the soil
makes good tomatoes, my great-grandfather said.
I poured her ashes into the hole
and filled it back with the chunks of dirt.
then all the rocks that I dug out
I placed in a pile.
I left my mother’s ashes there.
But I brought some of the soil back with me –
in a shoebox along with some rocks.
And the tomatoes grown in that red soil!
So tangy they jump off the plate and slap you
across the face before you can stick a fork in ‘em –
no passive sweet tomatoes grown in this dirt.
Mama would be pleased.

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vivian Zems
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 13:34:43

    Poignant and powerful words. Mum would be pleased indeed. A lovely tribute.


  2. erbiage
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 13:50:49

    there is something about a cairn that is ancient, respectful, mystical. i’d rather that than a headstone for myself.

    such a beautiful honoring of your ancestors. love the wrestling with the soil.

    so that’s where the tomato gets it’s sass! So tangy they jump off the plate! Mama *is* pleased.


    Nov 21, 2017 @ 14:32:12

    A meaningful telling. Here, we have the sons build the wooden casket and bury our loved ones on the family farm cemetery.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 21, 2017 @ 14:44:53

      I like that. In this country, mainly Orthodox Jews have the plain wooden coffins but still buried (by hand not with a backhoe) in usually Jewish cemeteries. Unless they are deep south and been here for many generations, then it is a homeplot. This is the closest I could get to a home plot. Afterall, most of the names are familiar!


  4. sanaarizvi
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 15:11:48

    Such a poignant tribute, Toni! I smiled at the closing lines 🙂 she would have been pleased indeed, and proud!💞


  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 16:32:21

    I think this is the best ever to honor your mother… a lovely poem (one of your very best)


  6. hypercryptical
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 18:35:35

    I love how you’ve continued to care for your mother, returning her to the earth. She would be immensely proud of you Toni.
    Much love
    Anna :o]


  7. Rall
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 19:11:34

    A moving tribute to you mother. I like the idea of burying the ashes marked with stones.


  8. Victoria C. Slotto
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 19:19:32

    Wow, wow, wow. Gobsmacked me with this powerful, poignant poem. What to say about the communion like metaphor of the tomatoes?!


  9. thotpurge
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 19:31:45

    Beautiful poem Toni, the close is fantastically written. A great tribute.


  10. Magaly Guerrero
    Nov 21, 2017 @ 19:36:28

    I love the journey, all of it. Your description dig heart-deep and settle there. Then comes that ending… just perfect. I think I heart your mom laughing with delight.


  11. Frank J. Tassone
    Nov 22, 2017 @ 20:10:21

    An authentic memorial, Toni. Beautifully crafted, wonderfully told!


  12. Bernice
    Nov 26, 2017 @ 13:30:18

    Beautiful and touching….


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