There is a grave in the river. It is made from green wire fencing wrapped in lace, with a square paper sign bobbing above the water that reads:

“This was made for the children please do not tear it down Thanks.”

It is winter in Peaceful Valley, yet there is a grave in the river made from paper and wire and lace, and words written in permanent marker that do not melt. There are pink plastic lilies above the sign, held by blue plastic clothes pins. The grave is under a tall concrete bridge, that when you stand under it beside the river, seems smaller than the graffiti skeleton on the other shore.

This is the place we last came together, when you were still human and I was still me. This is the place where I took a smooth stone, to keep at my bedside, as you watched in silence. And now from my running comes this grave in the river. And now from your grave comes this river.

The roar from the bridge is made dull by the current, which is the sound of fish moving in ecstasy, which is the sound of praising God, which is the sound of our names being sung by young waters. Waters that call for me to leap backwards into waves, so that my eyes might fill with cool blackness and the feathers of bald eagles as they fly above me, so that I might drink the wet tasting wind that drifts quietly in and out of ones chest, as if on the verge of laughing or crying wildly.

These are the things that taught me to be human: boards under the bridge-dirt for storing bums, dead pumpkin colored leaves still breathing over iced rocks, gold willow spikes standing in the current, and a hawk that in the morning watches me from a power line, and in the daytime follows me on sidewalks.

There is a river in the graveyard. It came after you were no longer human and I was no longer me. There is a grave in the river. Did it wash to shore or was it built from the water.