Jedediah Grasslands

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What we know

1855 - 1939.

Left home at 14 and came out to the gold rush. Prospected all along the Crystal River Valley and up into Leadville and Aspen. Never found anything, but made a regular circuit of the valley, always skirting the edges of Marble Springs. Was paid to dig the graves whenever there was need.


Jedediah considered them the lucky ones.

Katy Stoner forever at her play: no need now to watch
her hands slowly gnarl from work
Margaret and Esther forever clasping hands: no need
now for husbands, chores, children.
Sarah Grimes marked only as a memory: no need
for her stilted walk, gaping stares.

Judy Heollstar, tucked away safe from her mother’s
beady eyes, her father’s deaf ears.
Hazel Wringle, chest no longer wracked with fever,
mind no longer concerned with names.

The stillborn fruit from Lucy Rainer’s loins would never
taste the bitterness of their lives.
The Smith babies safe from hauling husbands home,
The Granger babies safe from jails.

The babies the Vernons dropped into the earth never
realized the hatred they were spared
The dirt did not care about the color of their skin
or the weight of their wallet.
Columbine and the child still in her were rumored to guard
the Sugar Boy—sure Joe would never leave them now.

The Mateson sisters now would never quarrel,
Rachel Cole and Edna Harris had no more need for tongues.
The Horners laying quiet now, any last secrets
washing away in the spring melt.

Penny free to dream of an open life of colors,
Maddy free to find her God to heal her from her final wounds.
Peggy and Perdy Dagmar released from their gold-hunger,
Allison and Alfred James no longer driven by reforms.

The Harmons released to mine the love from
their now-stilled earths
The Jensons now could always dance in each other’s arms,
forever swaying to the ground’s gentle beat.

The Morrison horde remembered in river rocks.
The Davidsons in a gleaming marble shrine.
Those grains once holding Bridget’s baby constituted
the only embrace she ever received.

The Rubensteins held Hebrew lettering carved closely
under the stone, next to their skulls.
Ken Jones and Miss Sing falling away together under
that rotting wood marker, never read.
Hezekiah Lincoln in that once neat plot, no longer
holding any need to clean or wash.

Jedediah envied them all.





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