Many cemeteries have an area reserved for stillbirths, infants, and small children, commonly known as “Babyland.”
Sleep-weary, they grew
weary too of looking for their sheep
among these slabs
like small wrapped gifts that rhyme—
Boy Blue, Bo-Peep—the same
two scenes laid down time and again
around their Babyland’s pavilion.
Infant. But most have names,
gently used. Their days recorded. Days.
No room for Mother, Father,
compelled to leave and leave and leave.
These little ones once knew tears.
Now they know rain.
Among rabbits, robins, squirrels,
barefoot they run in puddles,
swarm the heavy oaks, swim the ponds,
crawl into the cold arms of angels.
All the grassy acres of Forest Park,
theirs—for play and play and play.
The game of Names.
A favorite, even for the littlest ones
whose eyes never opened,
whose frail fingers have learned to read
the important upright stones like Braille:
Eatwell Skeeters. Hasty Eatman.
Goode Patient. The combinations—endless.
Hipple Hyde. Payne, Gore, and Stump.
The bones of the long-lived dead smile,
the tedium of waiting for Resurrection
thank God interrupted. Cryer. Self.
Now the small join hands.
Father, Mother, they whisper, whisper.