You did not notice

The 9th year of my life on Memorial Day

How humidity clung to my ankles as I ran through the family graveyard

Batting away mosquitos from tanned skin

My hands gently sliding across the tops of headstones

Hoping I’d feel the spirits radiate their energy deep down in my bones

How I placed a Cracker Jack ruby ring on my papaw’s headstone

A man I have never known, but his stories connected me to a relationship I never had

Me hoping to see the shadow of an ancestor amongst the tree line

That dotted the property line

You never noticed how I connected to the wild

How my heart sung with the wind whistling amongst tree branches

Or how my heart never belonged

Along the cement walls of your church

The way my eyes followed ladybugs dancing along in the air

Me jealous of their freedom and purity

My connection to the gods and goddesses of nature

Being my spiritual awakening, my understanding of life and death

Not the coldness of an oak pew

Is that ring still there

I often wonder

Or did the spirits accept my gift

Smiling upon me as they watch

From blades of grass

Tops of trees

The clouds against mountaintops