The Adirondack Review

Children Workers at the Cemetery in Ayacucho, Peru


Above everything, you'll hear their laughter. 
Above even the tame rooster with its missing leg,

always in the corner, always before the locals emerge
with their felt hats. There in the quiet hills, above a man kneeling

at his lover's grave, whistling, perhaps her favorite song,
above the Coke bottles stripped of their labels,

filled with rainwater and carnations, above the woman
carrying a body full of wrinkles, whose black dress

bleeds grey with the rainwater, children climb with flowers,
buckets full of soap, to wipe dust from the graves. 

You'll hear stories about these children who breathe in
the smell of flowers, and one day, perhaps buried

in the cotton sheets of their parents' beds stop opening their eyes. 
The mothers have grown accustomed to resting

their fingers beneath their children's noses,
afraid to feel the coolness of the night.

But all you know for sure is this moment. 
Tiny mud-stained hands.  Laughter. 


Kelly Simon
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
KELLY SIMON lives in Los Angeles with a husband, a brother, and a dog. She is a doctorate candidate in Literacy and Language at University of California, Santa Barbara and is a recent graduate of Fresno
State's MFA program in poetry.  She can be reached at kellyrsimon@gmail.com.