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Evergreen 6.22.15

by | August 9, 2015

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 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.)

Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Memorial Park & Crematory in the East Side neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. “There is no other cemetery that so encompasses Los Angeles’ rich multi-cultural past — often violent, surpassingly unique, and now poignantly forgotten.” Photo Hadley Meares.

Evergreen 6.22.15

 

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.

 

Mary loved white orchids.

Further Reading

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

 


Coral Tree In-home Care provide caregivers, old-fashioned kindness, and neighborly support to older adults who want to live at own home safely, comfortably, and as independently as possible. Since 2010 we’ve helped more than 250 families in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, and neighboring Southern California communities live safer, happier lives.

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