I Like How the Living & the Dead Entwine

“The Journey to Nowhere” by Merveille Adomou

Chatham Old Burial Ground


Lichens can be killed,
but do they die?

Some people think
they are immortal.

Such worlds —
golden moon glow,

peppered rock-shield,
maritime sunburst—

painted with the words.
Bishop’s still explosions

slowly they ripple out,
like the generations.

I try to decipher
my 7th great grandmother’s slate,

but some of the letters & numbers
have been entombed.

the crustose types:

with my fingernails, I scrape
& scrape, taking

& leaving DNA— Mrs.
Elizabeth Bers,

December 1, 1742,
in ye 26th year

of her age
a story there.

But the past
isn’t any easier to read.


By Jennifer Stewart Miller