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"United We Rest"
Poem by Kiernan Walshire
Broadside Design by Cody Carnes

Dear KC 2023 
Honorable Mention Poem

United We Rest

by Kiernan Walshire

I like to eat my lunch among the dead. In Union Cemetery,
where great trunks of redbud and spruce climb up up up
to offer shady solace to the thousands who rest below,
I peel an orange and plunge my fingers into its flesh,
considering the quiet economy of death. Not to be
outdone by trees, great vaulted monuments strike heavenward,
proclaiming: the more money in life, the louder your memory will be.
Despite the survived-by’s best efforts, stones crumble into shifting soil.
I cannot decipher the patina-kissed plaques behind the mausoleum gates.
My dear city’s legacy sprawls out
among crooked rows of marble tombstones grinning like teeth:
founder, businessman, war hero.
Cherished mother-sister-wife. Beloved daughter aged 7 months.
You souls, forgotten or otherwise, with all your infinities, rest in the Lord.
My lunch hour closes, but I do not want to go. Hopefully, one day,
when I am dead, someone will join me here for a favorite fruit
beneath a newly planted tree,
alive with cackling crows and the playful habits of squirrels.


Kiernan Walshire is a professional copywriter and lifelong Kansas City resident/fangirl. She has a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas and resides in the Longfellow neighborhood with her husband and two toddlers.


Cody Carnes is a graphic designer at Crux. With a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Northwest Missouri State, Cody brings a holistic understanding of branding and strategy to his design work. After graduation, Cody sought to transition to the creative side of marketing. He began working as a graphic design intern at Crux KC, quickly proved his worth and earned a full-time role. As a self-taught designer, Cody offers a fresh and unique perspective to his work. Over the past two and a half years at Crux, Cody has blended strategy from his marketing education with his distinct viewpoint allows him to deliver visually engaging and effective solutions for clients.


My intention for this poster was to showcase the scene in the poem of Union Cemetery in Kansas City. The inspiration for my interpretation stems from the desire to capture its unique essence of a place where the living and the departed coexist in a friendly and inviting manner. The central concept revolves around the notion of a smiling face that warmly welcomes all who enter this hallowed ground. I made an effort to include “easter eggs” throughout the poster that are direct callouts referenced in the poem. For example, the crow in the background or the rows of tombstones looking like teeth making up a smiling face. Through this imagery, I aim to convey a sense of comfort and acceptance, encouraging viewers to embrace the idea that cemeteries can be places of solace and connection.


Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library in collaboration with KC Streetcar and Crux KC

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