Raymond Philip Asaph
THE WALKERS OF WALT WHITMAN HIGH
The children who live in the welfare motel
walk through a graveyard on their way to school
behind a sagging church few faithful still attend.
Dipping through a hole in a chain link fence,
they follow a path years of them have worn
through crushed grass, wet leaves, and snow.
Passing fading names on slanting stones
pocked and soot-filled by the turnpike’s wind,
they must feel like the dead themselves sometimes
as they file into the parking lot behind the south gym.
Surely some of those names will be carried within
to their homerooms, classes, and out into their lives,
the meaningless names of the meaningless dead,
memories as haunting as the absence of a father,
or an unconscious mother’s blackened crack stem.
Raymond “Philip” Asaph, a former Long Islander, is a meditation instructor in Cortland, NY. His poems and stories have appeared in Poetry, Glimmer Train, The Humanist, and elsewhere. He can be reached at Longislandwriter@gmail.com