Increase's twenty-third Census Entry

[A couple of pages torn from the counting]

[From a small cemetery tucked away from a very old Dutch farmstead abandoned tens of years earlier]

Twelve headstones. Fourteen graves counting the sunken ground in two places.

Father/mother

Six children -- four dead at once in 1657; one in childbirth

Father/mother -- mother dead in childbirth

Child -- two days later -- two sunken graves under milkweeds -- one long, one short

Second mother

Two children -- died in childbirth

All in blackened limestone

[Then, following a path way from the kitchen to the river, a second gravesite, a second, smaller gravesite, a gravesite of smaller graves]

Two recent, with stones and flowers on freshly turned dirt

Two dozen or more from a year or more ago

Phantom voices, laughter, children shrieking in a game of catch-as-catch-can

Richard Henry