“For residents of the Murray Avenue apartments,”
said the Baltimore Sun on May 20, 2019,
“the tombstone in the basement
has always been a part of their lives.
The curves of Greenberry Lark’s headstone,
engraved December 25, 1780, and November 19, 1826,
jut out from the waist-high wall it’s cemented into.
The floor of the basement is pooled with water from a leak.
A child’s dirt bike rests against a wall.
Discarded liquor bottles, trash and pieces of furniture
are scattered on the wet floor.”
When I die, place my tombstone in the attic
with the stacks of old magazines in liquor-store boxes,
the tangled strands of Christmas lights
and my neglected electric bass.
Let the squirrels build their nest in the corner.
Do not put curtains on the small dormer windows.
Let the squirrels look out on the Baltimore streets
where I once walked with no thought of my fate.
© Geoffrey Himes
Geoffrey Himes’s poetry has been published by December, the Delaware Poetry Review, Salt Lick, the Baltimore City Paper, the Loch Raven Review, the Bhubaneswar Review and other publications. He has co-written songs with Si Kahn, Walter Egan, Pete Kennedy, Billy Kemp, Fred Koller and others. He has written about popular music and theater for the Washington Post, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Paste, Downbeat and others since 1977. His book on Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A., was published in 2005.