Family Tree

“Family Tree,” Ensign, July 1980, 5

Family Tree

Sagebrush whispers silence,

wind threshed against the stone,

your name, date of birth and death

once etched, now dwindled

into nothingness.

This, your grave,

this hot, dry spot,

iron fence squaring off

a pocket size of earth?

In this apron of low flung hills, no epitaph?

What of tangled roots, locked in bones,

winds that wear a life away?

I know you lived because your journaled words

tell of truth, of faith, of pioneer years.

I chart a pyramid of pedigree.

You are there, young and strong enough

to stretch hundred-mile strides,

straddling mountains

to take a wife and build a home.

You still move through the spring-plowed hills.

Your prayers sing through the valley.

In this windswept cemetery where you have no name

our spirits touch because you left a part of you

in aged journal pages.

Time will hold the last devotion.

I reach as if no time had passed.

Illustrated by Frank McEntire