The Gathering

by Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu

The earth rocked as we knelt before our ancestral resting place. Bones lovingly placed, rattled within glazed ceramic jars cradled in the hollow beneath the cover stone; flowers and offerings tumbled with burning incense around our knees. We and the stones held our ground silently. We had passed the morning pruning the grave cedar, carrying pails of water, scrubbing stones and steps rooted in the inheritance of devotion. We had observed the proper rites using the appointed tools grandfather had assembled. The earth shuddered reminding us of how he had talked about “The Big One” and of how very far away we were from the provisions he had respectfully stored.

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Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu writes from Japan. Her work has appeared in publications in the U.S., the U.K., Japan and cyberspace.