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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 2, June 2016
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Brendan Slater
Stoke-On-Trent, England


Little Wooden Cross

The cemetery is thawing. It won't be long until the grass needs cutting and the shoots begin to appear. It seems like the Council have put a lot of work into repairing and cleaning the vandalised headstones. I always wonder what kind of pleasure the local kids, even those bored out of their brains, get from kicking over a headstone, or tagging one or pulling up flowers, leaving their empty cider cans, crushed. But over the winter the Council have taken time and money to tidy the place up; it's the least they can do, when they spend millions on gentrifying the City Centre and building themselves new Council offices. It's happening all over Europe. The Councils have a budget and if they don't spend it all they have to return what's left to the government. Fair's fair, they spent some time and money cleaning up the cemetery. But something doesn't seem quite right. I know the cross is out of fashion these days, and so I'm curious at the number of wooden crosses marking the spot. I don't know what wood is used, maybe some kind of ash or other hardwood, and they seem to be treated to protect them from the elements. They usually have a small brass plaque with the deceased's name and dates on it. I imagine a husband rotting in a cardboard coffin, and the funeral with seven guests, and the widow, broken, prescribed anti-psychotics to shut her up and get her out of the doctor's surgery, and the children trying to appear happy at what they've inherited, and the dog, confused, listening for the sound of the car entering the drive and the key in the door, and the local kids, bored out of their brains, leaving their cans, crushed, and just the brass plaque in the ashes of the dead man's little wooden cross.

boolean returning()
$returning.yes
the rain stops;
I feel nothing;
I am not;

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