Deep into history I fall, thoughts meandering to times gone by.
Times not of my time, but of those passed to me in stories,
As part of my passage through childhood.
As when voices were the only connection between generations.
I’ve grown up to contemplate history as an unbroken line,
Believing the intimate details of its passage always discoverable.
While true of the world at large, of events on the grand scale,
The sounds, smells, the intimate details,
dwell only in the memories of those souls present at the scene.
I’ve walked the cemetery in Johnstown and considered
The rows and rows of those taken in an instant.
Or the section containing families laid side by side, day by day
By the great flu epidemic, so many stories lost, so many voices silenced.
My father had a brother once, gone while still very young
James was his name is all I know, all the rest, the how, the why
wiped clean at dad’s passing, as a slate at the conclusion of the lesson.
Gaps in the knowing appear, leaving bits without continuity,
The line lies broken, littered with lingering questions,
All with answers unknowable.
We squander the opportunity to know, believing we’ll always have time.
Assuming that tomorrow will arrive, and we will greet it
risking that all may be erased by the unforeseeable.
The only certainty, that when the end comes, the stories vanish.
Replaced by deafening silence.