To sweeten the dish, add salt. To bear the pain,
render the insoluble. She envied

the past its incursions, yet the past yields to all,
avoidance to acceptance, trees to smoke.

My mother brought to this country a token of her death to come.

Now it sits on my shelf bearing implements of music.
In her last days I played Sakura on the mandolin,

trusting that she might find comfort
in the blossoms fluttering through the failing notes,

a return to mornings
of tea and rice, of
warmth and paper walls and deep laughter.

Today the rain spells forgive

and every idea becomes form, every shadow a symptom,
each gesture a word, a naming in silence.

Scatter me in air I’ve never breathed.

* * *

“Ashes,” first appeared in Extract(s) in 2013, was reprinted on The Reverie Poetry Journal, and is included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.


77 thoughts on “Ashes

  1. I love how you have evoked the universal in the personal here. And that last line. It’s like you just put a name to a feeling I never knew was there until you named it. Poignant. May your mother’s spirit live on in cherry blossoms and mandolin melodies.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So much good can be given to another through a simple offering of solace; so much healing can well up in the heart of the giver who least expects anything in return…

    I need to listen to the rain way more often in my neck of the woods.

    Fitting, indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

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