Her gravestone is never too dirty to be new.
            It isn’t, though. New, an ancestor
But ancestor is for the long passed.
Sixteen, a car, mere accident always
            an accident: I have her name and
A gravestone never dirty enough for interest.
Her name, inherited but back again in
            a well-watered field of namesakes,
            accidents, sickness unplanned
And ancestor, for the long past.
I think, worry she is disappointed, my namesake
            might think we have not allowed
            a proper mourning period for
Her gravestone is never too dirty to be new.
My father is driving, we nearly crash I am sixteen
            an accident, it was an accident nothing more
            when I realize most likely I am somebody’s
Ancestor, anyway, long passed.
Not a namesake, just a name I am told
            and her family outgrew it, anyway
            outgrew her can’t you? Can I get
            too big for myself can I forget
Her gravestone, never mine to visit.
Stumbled upon it once, the stone on that
            biannual visit for great-grandparents
            an accident I think I stepped on her dirt
            my dirt my ancestor she’s only ever been
An ancestor, so far in the past.
She screamed, I think, at the crash and thought,
her name would go
            to a baby never known imploding
            steel and fresh soil, shoveled.
Her gravestone is never too dirty to be new
But ancestor, can we keep this in the past?
Jesse Ludington is a a high school student from southern Connecticut, where she is enrolled in the Creative Writing Department at ACES Educational Center for the Arts. She has received 2 Gold Keys, 2 Silver Keys, and 1 Honorable Mention from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for work in fiction, memoir, journalism, and playwriting. Her work has also been published in the University of Connecticut’s Connecticut Student Writers Magazine.

Photography by Stefania Gheorghiu.