Monday, August 30, 2021

Paupers Cemetery by Lorri Ventura

Turkey vultures
Venture beyond a nearby landfill
Circling evocatively above the paupers’ graves 
On Mayflower Hill.

Grave markers resemble key heads
Bearing not names, but numerals
A potter’s field
Stretching from a trash-strewn roadside to a forest

Unnamed graves embrace the insane
Forced to sew their own burial shrouds
While hunched on cots
In the nearby state hospital

Alongside them are infants and children
Resting eternally with strangers
In group plots
To conserve space

The earth comforts the nameless poor
Their dreams curtailed by monsters
Bearing melodic names—
Diphtheria, Dropsy, Dysentery, Dementia, Despair

Beneath numbered iron markers
Lie the forgotten, abandoned, and lost 
Lives perhaps un-noted
But not without value

Lorri Ventura is a retired special education administrator living in Massachusetts. Her poems have been featured in a number of anthologies

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