Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Cemetery

The barbed fence
you insisted was keeping
intruders out and not us in
loomed against New York’s
only constant—light
spitting upward to
the unabashedly nude
sky. A plane gargled
and grunted over us
moving diagonally from the South to the Northern
plantation of cloudless
refractions of black-blue
night. An amorous reaper
scraping it’s heavy tool
along a flight path long torn open
with brutally ineffable
“whys?” Wisława couldn’t tell
us, neither can you, officer,
and neither can K. or I. Wisława
couldn’t give us a last line,
neither can you, officer,
and neither can K. or I.

— Peter Burzynski

The Cemetery is part of a longer piece by Peter Burzynski entitled The Cemetery Sideshow and first appeared on Between the Essence and the Descent. I received it on October 21, 2011 at the Academy of American Poets Awards Ceremony in New York City.

Visit Between the Essence and the Descent to learn why a photo of the 9-11 Memorial accompanies this piece, the story behind the poem, and a video of Peter reading the poem in three parts.


  1. Peter, it is my pleasure and you are welcome. Keep forming your voice, I like what you are writing. You will have to let me know about the poets' costume party if I do not attend.

  2. Really fine poem. Leaping, steady, deep.

    - Michael West

  3. Spread the word, Michael. Feel free to share upon these pages.