08/09/96



I've come so far to bring you here.

The rains have stopped, the sun has set.
The clouds are bleached like ancient bone
As evening's hemorrhage withdraws.

I climb down to the water's edge.
Some thirty years ago I stood
Beside you in this private place,
And now I hold you in my hands.
I lift the reliquary urn,
Remove the lid, and look inside.

The ash is strangely dark and coarse,
I'd thought it would be light and fine.
I place a pinch upon my tongue,
It tastes like sand. I savor it
And swallow as my tears pour down.
I tilt the urn above the stream.

The water flows so slowly down
Towards the lake, it barely moves.
I wonder if it always drifts
That way, or whether time itself
Has slowed, stretched out, almost to stop.
It seems so long between each breath.

The ash upon the surface spreads,
While some sifts down to join the soil.
I stand there while my memories
Pour through me all at once, released
As if expired, a final surge
Of all that which our lives embraced.

I turn and climb back up the hill,
And pause upon the bridge. I watch
As you flow on, to join the lake.

I always will remember this.