Graveyard Keeper

Graveyard Keeper

Oct 08, 2021

Photo of graveyard by Marisa Biddings

The air is thick with fog, and weighs heavy on my chest. Sorrow fills my stomach. The tombstones are arranged in the same order—tall, flat, cross, tall, and so on.

Mr. & Mrs. James have a fresh bouquet of flowers today. They're orange and pink and wrapped in the cheap grocery store plastic. It's always fresh flowers for them.

Meanwhile, Jerry, Matilda, and the kid Ivy only get the fake ones staked into the ground. Most of the petals have fallen off throughout the years. The weather isn't nice to the graveyard's citizens.

Sighing, I pull out staked fakes. Not even their family is kind to them these days. I grab a new arrangement, a wreath as requested, and push it into the ground next to Ivy. Methodically, I continue.

I dust off the tombstones, careful to uncover each name from the dirt. With each arrangement replaced and name uncovered, the sorrow lightens.

A faint squeaking catches my attention.

I look toward the end of the yard. A lone swing hangs from a tall oak tree. Finally, the city finally took my advice. I smile as it rocks back and forth, barely moving upwards.

It must be Jerry's turn today.

My work here is done. I wipe the sweat off my brow and leave my card on the last tombstone, Matilda's. She'll let me know if they need my help again.

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