Romance into the Grave?

Just on the other side of my garden lies a town cemetery, wisely placed far above Hardwick’s flood plain, with a rooftop view of the village, built on a sandy hillside and along a river. Interestingly, the villagers frequently use the cemetery as a public green space, and older women with little dogs or couples holding hands frequently pass by my elderberries.

New to this house, my daughters and I leap the fence and are beginning to know these stones – names and dates and what little local lore we’ve garnered.

Our favorite is the couple with a pithy phrase on one side – She always did her best – and on the other end – He did not. Our visitors usually pause, blinking, and then laugh out loud.

By the dates, I notice he died twenty years before his wife.

Revenge or love? It must be love. My daughters and I – we’re sticking with that theory.

We could have some arrangement
By which I’d bind myself to keep hands off
Anything special you’re a-mind to name.
Though I don’t like such things ’twixt those that love.
Two that don’t love can’t live together without them.
But two that do can’t live together with them.
From Robert Frost’s “Home Burial”
IMG_1875
Hardwick, Vermont

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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