Tag Archives: grief

Small round words

“I am about to stop writing about my dead . . .”

Of course, that hasn’t happened. More than ten years after writing this poem, I have had more than enough reason to continue writing about “my dead,” both the long-gone who nevertheless remain powerful presences in my life, and the more recently departed, a number accelerating as I age. This poem had its beginnings in the hospice room of a longtime friend. . .

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This weekend, my late wife, Diana, would have turned 60.

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.

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December 1, 2012 · 12:50 pm