(Watauga County, 1895)
Two lovers out walking found
more than spring’s promised blessing
on new beginnings hanging
in a dogwood tree’s branches.
No friend or kin claimed those bones.
The high sheriff came. Foul play
he was sure, but how or why
he found no answers, so stayed
to help break the ground, help haul
a flat rock out of the creek,
sprinkle some dirt, some God words,
then left for more recent crimes.
The lovers wed that winter.
On their marriage night they dreamed
of bouquets of spring flowers
blooming in a dead man’s hand.