By Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

Copyright © 2002



To the Graveyard


    Where else would I go? I go where I might find her. She who rules death, life, and the passage between. Hekate.

     She who rules my life, for I’m sure I don’t anymore. I don’t even know the rules anymore.

    But at any time I could go back. I could leave off lurking in a graveyard at sunset. I could make a joke about the crazy dreams. I could go no further into this… this… whatever this is.

    I like to tell myself I could.

    I look at the graves, row after row of planted coffins sprouting plastic flowers. I call out the names. But these people are gone, their boxes empty. Empty of what matters. How did they go and leave their bodies behind? Where did they go? Were they scared?

I come to a row without decoration. The worn markers read “Unknown.” Ain’t it the truth.

This must be the older part of the cemetery. These days people are well identified and categorized. If they weren’t, no one would bother to bury them.

Ahead is a marble obelisk, surrounded by trees. Someone rich, someone well known. I walk up to know the name too. Instead I find a poem, chiseled in stone.


Stranger, stop as you pass by

As you are now so once was I

As I am now so you shall be

Prepare for death and follow me.


A caress of bony fingers sends a chill up my spine. A chill like soft rain and shadow kisses. “Prepare for death.” All right then.

Back in the new section is a newly dug grave. Unoccupied. I slide in and lie down.

The earth is soft and smells good. Rich, fertile, strong, alive. What I want to be. I breathe in deep, and sink into the earth’s embrace.

The darkness surrounds me, fills me. I breathe it in, and breath out one noxious gas after another. Until the sickly exhalations fade. Because I am pure, rich as the earth and black as the grave. I feel each cell in my body like a seed, gathering strength in the dark, germinating. I feel each atom; I am each atom. I am whirling star stuff, spinning in infinite space. I am poised in the moment before creation. Potent and pregnant as I have never been before. I am dissolved into darkness, into nothing, into everything.

     I am really itchy. Are there bugs crawling on me?

     “Time to get up,” says Hekate. “You’re not dead yet.”