When we were kids we’d sit in graveyards
drinking rye and laughing,
trying not to wake the neighbors.
If we did they’d make the call,
and the police would probably come.
It was always too cold, but there was nowhere else,
and the company there seemed inebriate.
We liked that, and moved with the magic of Moses,
we’d throw down the chains in his name
and we’d wait.
Day visitors, cautious, moved between the stones
with cunning civility we felt was mock.
We, at night, with this multitude were rude.
We played, it seemed, to please them,
curses flying, bottles dropped.
But always the neighbors, ears like little pins,
listened for our floating voices.
They did not want voices,
drifting out of the graveyard,
especially not laughter, they did not want choices.
So it was only a matter of time
and we knew it, ‘til a cruiser would come.
It’s sidelight highbeam bruised the lawn with day,
and the squawk of the radio, horrible dawn,
said we must be away.
We pressed ourselves against the stones,
tasting our breath on the names and were still,
like some prelude to love, ‘til the angles were cut,
and we’d grab our bottles, empty or not
- Jim Gislason