Arlington

by Evan Vernon

A reverent boy in someone’s stead
knelt by a shoddy stone
to stare upon the unkempt head
of one who slept alone.

A jungle grave, all strewn with weeds
to top its sickly pate,
looked resigned, as if love’s coming
found occasion too late.

Still the boy knelt, his deed undone,
to eye those ancient weeds
and, certain of his solemn charge,
remove them one by one.

At once he set to second task
and, poring over the grass
of the yard, found prime petals
to fashion up a wreath.

From dawn to dusk, his doting hands
kept on ‘til it was done:
a wondrous gift meant well for love
between a father and his son,

or something of that nature
which could such care impel.
Yet I, for doubt, approached the boy
and bade him answer well,

“Who was it, so dear to merit
these kindly acts from you?”
Then, to my shock, returned the boy,
“He’s one I never knew.”

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