by B. Nagel
Edith left money to the cemetery for this bench. So I could sit and enjoy the sunset with her.
We often visited her husband to watch the sun drop into the endless water. But my left knee is weak from a stumble in the sacristy back in ’75 and I could never stay on it long enough to actually watch the sun go down. Dodgy thing doesn’t even have a decent story, but it’s the truth. That’s why we always talked about a bench.
The townies whisper about my coming, but even priests need to mourn their friends. Especially old priests like me.
A snatch of moving black above me draws my eye. I look up and back and over my glasses at the large bird circling beyond the upper branches, ignoring the acorns, the breadcrumbs. It might be an eagle, but more likely it’s a turkey vulture. I can’t see worth a dime anymore, anyway. Could be a cowbird.
He circles again then heads to the river. Searching, I suppose, for fish. Or garbage. He flies against the sun and, for a moment, his silhouette burns bright. Until the dying light consumes him.
I use the headstone for a handhold while I work up from the bench under the oak. “You were my best friend, Edith.”
I work my way slowly down the path with my cane. When I glance back, two people are sitting on my bench, watching the darkling day sink into the Cheuckahoba.