Do You Have Less Energy Than Usual

by Cynthia Marie Hoffman

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In the graveyard, one white stone charges toward the sky, a straight shot north from the brain buried below. A final prayer crystalized toward heaven. Squirrels find something else here, picking at the lumpy turf. It would be easier to relax if you were not imagining this axe, this axe hacking into your skull. Someone creeping up behind you in the wind. The thing you like about squirrels is the white tips of their tail fur, how they seem lit up by some saintly electricity. They know something you don’t. You haven’t even gotten out of the car. Your neck crooks over the open window frame like a head in a guillotine, but looking up at the massive pine tree beckoning with robed sleeves. The squirrels scramble into its arms. When you were little, you tried to hide your thoughts from God, but God sent an angel into your room to listen, and that made everything worse. You came here to rest. Some of the oldest coffins have already laid their boards along the bodies of their inhabitants like the pleats of a wooden skirt. This is the kind of thing you think about. You think about the dead things beneath the earth, becoming dead, the things the animals claw from what was buried. But mostly you just want to sleep. A storm brews, and it’s just like any other day. Someone somewhere blows a whistle. Someone will wake you up when it’s time to go.