Perugia Press
Celebrating poetry by women since 1997

The Wishing Tomb by Amanda Auchter
Winner of the
2013 PEN Center USA
Award in Poetry
94 pages, $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-9794582-5-5
© 2012

The Wishing Tomb

by Amanda Auchter

Decorating the Tombs: All Saints’ Day

After the wood engraving by John Durkin, November 1885

We bring our bread and fall flowers,

a table spread with rust linen,
forks and plates. We bring paper crowns,

a sheaf of wheat, press each against white-
washed tombs, offer our prayers, our baskets
of harvest: yellow chrysanthemums,

red coxcombs, wreaths of black glass
beads. Keepsakes in the glow

of our childrenís hands, fields
of candlelight, lamp oil, the distant

burst of lightning. Each stone
a vessel we bring our mouths to, touch
and whisper, wipe clear of lichen, soot.

Around us, the city blurs in dusk: low blue

between the coliseum of houses, men
with their carts of ice, tomatoes. We lift

our spoons of pudding and donít speak
of the rising river, fevers, how soon the damp
earth will shutter our eyes, dredge the backs

of our throats. How soon, too, the night
will come, the rats for our crumbs,

the water, the ruin, for our tender bones.