Monday, August 22, 2016

Ashes


We’re going up to put our mother’s ashes in the ground.
It’s winter time, one year since she breathed her last
and that long, pitiable decline ceased. The last rites, then.

I’ll stand and say a prayer, maybe sing a song, let the wind
take my voice away. Settle her in. Look down upon the town
I’ll never have to see again. She can rest in peace.

I was walking, just the other day, and she came to me.
Not distinct, not a vision talking, just a fleeting glimpse
of the discordant frailty she always owned, even in youth.

People say: “Oh, you’re an orphan now.” But I demur,
experiencing only that I am an adult whose parents
are both dead. Where they once were is absence. Two

boxes of ashes will lie in the concrete square they bought.
I will attend the family lunch, share some memories, and,
driving away, will watch horizons. What’s left but distance?



21 June 2016

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