37. Ebenfeld Churchyard

A shovelful of dirt strikes the casket.

He played golf one afternoon in May
and the next day, was no longer.

It’s raining here on the prairie
behind the country church he loved.

How does my gentle cousin
not wake up in the morning?


Was it fifty years ago, when
tiring of coloring books,
we played under grandma’s table
wondering which one of us
she loved the most?

Was it only fifty years ago,
when dashing across a farmyard
I stumbled, splitting my knee open,
and he felt guilty because
he won the race?

It’s raining here on the prairie
behind the country church he loved.

The tent over the gravesite
is of no use to me.

— Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black grew up on a farm in southwest Kansas. After a long career as a teacher, writer, journalist, and editor in the Washington D.C. area, she moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 2007. Elizabeth is the author of the novel Buffalo Spirits, which drew on her experiences growing up in western Kansas.



4 thoughts on “37. Ebenfeld Churchyard

  1. I can see those two children, playing under Grandma’s table, comfortable with each other in that special cousin relationship. Thanks, Liz

  2. Hi, Liz. So poignant and sad. The tent echoing the image of the earlier table-tent provided such a strong visual link for me as I read. I am both sorry for your loss and grateful for the way you are able to describe it.

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