Jamey Hill Temple

Decoration Day, Clifty Baptist Church 

Grandma points out kinfolk
while she brushes clean
her parents’ graves
in a zigzag of markers
crowned with flowers.

She shapes their plots
as if she were stroking their heads,
sets them straight, wipes them clean
like they did for her years
ago before Sunday School.

Taking one step back to judge
her repair, she sighs and gathers
the love-scattered fragments
from nearby graves,
curses the keeper’s work.


Jamey Hill Temple teaches writing courses at a small liberal arts college in Kentucky where she also acts as managing editor of its literary journal, Pensworth. Her prose and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Kentucky Monthly, Repurposed Magazine, Still: The Journal, and The Quotable.


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