Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Graceland (Laura Van Prooyen)

Graceland Cemetery in the Snow


Even as you inch along with the throngs
wearing audio tour headsets,
and shuffle silently through the memorial garden, you know

that to sneak a photo of the man dressed as Elvis,
pausing at the grave of Elvis,
is in bad taste. But having just passed through the mansion,

the shag-flanked jungle room, and the mirrored basement
with three TVs, your judgment might be off. Besides,
it’s quiet here. The air is still. You remember

that hot August afternoon, the newscasts,
the weeping fans. Your mother frozen on the footstool
two feet away from the screen, covering her mouth. You kept close

as she told you about Elvis. About faking sick
to skip church to see him his first time on TV, right there
in the den where she held your head in her lap. Where

as a teen you lounged in the lazy-boy
with a stolen can of Stroh’s and a lit cigarette. Last time
you were there, wood still paneled the walls and your mother

hovered in her anti-gravity chair, angling
her nerve-damaged leg in the company of photos
and spinning pendulum of an anniversary clock. You linger

on the edge of the semi-circle of graves to gain a clear view
of the man in jumpsuit. You put your camera away
as he adjusts his costume, hangs his head before his own tombstone.

Laura Van Prooyen

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