Three

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She is walking around the cemetery. But she is not familiar with any of the inhabitants. She likes graveyards because they feel empty to the living, and crowded to the dead. She tries to find the oldest graves, with the sandstone gravestones that crumble and have no names. She passes an elderly man and woman who are putting rakes in the back of a van. The woman says
“Oh wait, we still have uncles to do.”
They do not notice the girl.
She walks and reads the names of the people in the ground, and she wonders how long it’s been since their names were said.
She balances, with her arms extended, on the cement barrier between one plot and the next.
A raven flies at her from behind, she jumps and loses her balance when his stiff black wings come unusually close to the back of her head. She laughs.
She laughs because it is ironic, because it is foreboding, and because it is unnerving.
But it is not a nervous laugh.
She continues walking and reading the names of the people in the ground.
The second time the raven flies at her she does not laugh.
“What do you want, Bird?”
She is not frightened, just irritated. She continues to walk, and the third time the raven flies at her, his stiff black wings collide with her head, and she screams at him.
“Leave me alone you stupid bird!”
He caws back at her and cocks his head to one side.
“Nevermore.” She whispers, and turns to leave the cemetery. As she leaves she yanks a twig of cherry blossoms off a tree and tosses them on to the grave of a man who died last January, without stopping she says
“I never knew you, but your son still needs his father.”





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