The difference between graveyard and cemetery

Once I bought a cookbook purely because
the author’s first name was Fuschia,

just like the color. I mean I also like that it
focuses mostly on Asian flavors. Almost all recipes

in it have beguiling instructions like Heat
some oil in a pan, smack the white parts

of spring onions with the back of a cleaver,
finely chop some garlic and ginger; throw

these in and stir until wonderfully fragrant.
Now every time I stand at the stove I try

to conjure that wonderfully fragrant cloud,
try to blanket the sauce and garnishes prettily

over the fish. And at the drugstore, waiting
for a prescription to fill, I like to amuse

myself walking through the aisles, reading
labels on beauty products. Nail polish, for instance:

Playing Koi, Udon no Me, Smoke and Mirrors, Queen
of Hearts, Angel Food
. After my father-in-law passed away

last winter, my husband and I decided to throw in
a downpayment for a share in the family plot tucked

in one grassy section of a sprawling cemetery in Niles.
Here, just now, I must tell you I debated on the use

of graveyard vs. cemetery, until some quick research
showed that graveyard historically refers to a much smaller

burial ground annexed to a church. Also, grave comes from the early
Germanic graban, meaning to dig; while cemetery comes

from the Old French cimetiere— it means burying place, but
also hails from the older Greek koimeterion or sleeping place—

This makes me feel a new fondness for cemetery, which previously
I thought merely grey and serviceable. I started wondering

about the costs of dying today, and Googling led me to various online
catalogs of coffins. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been surprising

to find styles like “The Buckingham” (solid polished hardwood, fluted
corner pillars), “The Hainsworth” (pure new wood fibre with true green

lineage), “In the Garden” (variety of painted themes including Monet’s
garden), or “Seagrass” (woven, made from sustainable and biodegradable

materials). Why shouldn’t we care about any bit of beauty we can take
with us until the very end, before slipping into uniform darkness?


In response to Via Negativa: #amwriting.

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.