A week of rain left me feeling trapped
so, I packed the camera and you;
a small boy not quite five; into the car,
despite your protests;
and set off out of the city.
The rain was a mist on the windshield
and the wipers were a metronome to the
quiet song on the radio.
You pressed your forehead to the cold glass of the window
and watched the river as we drove to the churchyard.
The silence at the old stone church was almost eerie.
We held hands at the cemetery gates,
paused, then started to walk the graveyard.
You were exploring,
and I read the tombstones aloud.
I let you wander ahead, relenting to my inner voice
that warned me of over-protectiveness
until my heart stopped at a headstone
and I called out your name.
You turned, ensuring I hadn’t moved from the spot;
smiled and continued on.
My hair was a wild thing
unfettered, wind-whipped around my face
hiding the tears I held back.
You, with eyes of wonder,
admired the cracks in the stone wall
traced numbers in the tombstones
with your small finger,
pretending to count;
While I, with beating heart,
traced the numbers in my mind
and prayed for your future.
My camera, dead as the bodies in the graveyard
hung lifeless around my neck.
Our pictures of the day
in the mind of a small boy,
not yet five,
and his mommy.
© Erin Hilder