A poem Cassidy wrote in memory of a beloved Coral Tree client, Mary, a Japanese-American woman, who lived in Irvine and passed away in June, 2015 at 90 years old. Mary was buried at Evergreen Cemetery, in Boyle Heights, in East Los Angeles.
Evergreen is one of the oldest cemeteries in L.A., and pays tribute to the city’s – and our country’s – long, sad, and, at the same time, beautiful immigrant and interracial history. “Evergreen is notable for never having banned African-Americans from being buried at the cemetery and has sections for Armenians, Japanese, early white settlers, and a large section of Mexican graves.” (Wikipedia.)
Everbrown thuds the eye but not the sound of air,
Four ravens four corners as if with quorks their cloudsheet squared
And swooped with grace and Mary met them there.
Below we stared, uneven graves from all over the place–
Japanese, Chinese, English, Spanish, a potter’s fare
(American homeless stretched their last there).
Around us Boyle Heights, Latina lanes and names,
Embroidered blouses espaliered to rod-iron frames,
Shirts stretched their sleeves, red, yellow, black,
Pop-up shops–block by block, rack by rack.
Flowers for homage edged the Evergreen lot.
Still the sleek hearse came, birds calling nonstop,
Sun-stilled tear-streaked daughter’s rain
Seemed right, dust maimed we were, are
Till Mary came, white orchids in her train.
- Hadley Meares piece for KCET on Evergreen Cemetery here: “Evergreen Cemetery: Snapshots of a Forever Changing Boyle Heights.”
- A History of Evergreen Cemetary
- Boyle Heights and Evergreen Cemetary