At the Graves of My Grandparents

Foot 1
By Clifton Snider

In Saratoga Springs, New York,
at the artists’ colony,
mosquitoes favored
one spot
above all others–
the 19th-century cemetery
secluded on a hill among tall trees
with a celtic cross.

Thirty years later
I hunt through Greenwood Cemetery,
Superior, Wisconsin,
with my first cousin, once removed,
for the graves of my English-Canadian
grandfather and my Norwegian grandmother,
parents of my mother,
great-grandparents of my cousin.

Mosquitoes are pesky;
we go on, row by row.

Michael finds the place–
two modest markers: Norman C. Tout,
Henrietta Tout. Always
a comforting relief,
not a pleasure,
to find what you’re looking for
in a graveyard.

Mosquitoes–the biting females–
are happy to find us there.
They swarm into a fury,
attacking as if we had
no business to honor
our human ancestors.

I snap pictures, pause for a prayer
& we flee as if from a Greek

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