The persistence of ashes
In fact, it is the roses that remain.
They enter the house all summer long,
and longer. I place them on the mantle beside the urn
where they will expend their pinks and reds petitioning
what gods they know for the persistence of your ashes.
And they will weep petals across the hearth.
At times, I catch myself believing in the immutability
of ashes, as if we are of this place or any other. As if
the generations that go on spreading like ash will turn
one day to the fixed notion of a place that is home.
The roses were planted fifty years ago or more, a neighbor said,
by a woman who went about, as people do, growing flowers
and growing old, until there was nothing left but roses to testify
that she had ever been. And we set out to make a home amid the thorns
and petals of her life. We nested in the oak-lined rooms that remembered
all her moods and all her movements, but only briefly. And you
took it upon yourself to took it upon yourself to cleanse and nourish
those roses, perhaps in hopes of sanctifying a transitory life
followed seamlessly by ash and bone.