A young man has decided to work at a cemetery because, miraculously, no one he’s loved has died yet— so he is here every Thursday at 6PM, unafflicted, and nothing else happens for him.
Here with a thousand stories—of the sick, those who just knew it was time to go, one big rock star—everyone eventually coming back to their God, their man in the lawn, surrounded by sounds of sweet Ritchie Valens, still singing,
¡Por ti seré, por ti seré!
and of course, the young groundskeeper, bending
towards the earth, apologizing to each person,
each newly-naked grave—whispers of I am not a violent man, because it sure looks like it, his tossing of flowers into black bags,
as if this is a disgusting crime—but the flowers need to go,
so more beautiful things can be invited in. But in case ghosts have forgotten about having to pay bills, he takes some flowers, saves them in his back pocket, and mows the beds
of grass—and for a moment, he sort of hopes to die
and rest here, too, so someone can take care of him, even if just another groundskeeper. And when the flowers are all gone, and he is still alive, he takes himself down to the liquor store,
buys a Coke and sits in the unpaved parking lot, light jumping off of his tired back when a passing car with its windows rolled down plays “La Bamba”—
he washes death down with a big swig,
It sparkles in his throat
Nailea Salazar is a writer from California who believes that God is stored in Meg Ryan movies. You can find her on Twitter @girlinthealps.
image: MM Kaufman