Allerheiligen; Or, All Saints’ Day

The fog rolled in last night.

It came in slowly, after the fireworks had quieted,

after the hordes of trick-or-treaters had long been put to bed,

tired and satisfied after the great hunt.

It lingered this morning,

a thin veil on each building and tree.

The air was thicker with it.

It was thicker with memory, too.

My days of belief are long-gone,

the rosary tucked away in a nearby drawer,

the family crucifix lifted gently from the wall and packed safely into storage.

There are no more ghosts or saints in my philosophy,

only bones and recollections.

But were I home,

back in the land of my mother’s birth,

I would walk through the neat rows of graves,

each one marked with a lineage inscribed into stone or marble.

I would find the small piece of real estate,

passed on to generations, where my grandfather,

his second wife,

my cousin—23 years old, engulfed by an avalanche—

my grandmother (when room in the death-house was scarce, she became ashes),

all lie sleeping in the earth.

I would light one of those red candles,

and leave it burning through the night by their side.

I do not believe in souls,

but wish to leave the light on for them nevertheless.



  1. Well said – isn’t life a process of subtraction and addition – ???? Which one comes first. The memory is for us to take from them what we can pass on.

    Love you. Mom

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