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Sweet Ashes

A dozen pink roses
lay atop your departed box.
The box, simple and gray,
filled with ashes,
ashes that once formed
your presence on earth.

Your name,
an identification,
carved deep into the headstone.
A remembrance,
a reminder,
of your existence.

The sun is radiant,
our eyes are masked
by dark shades.
Black dominates the burial site,
black skirts,
black shirts,
black ties.

I could choose to cry,
but I won’t.
I could choose to ignore reality,
but I won’t.
I could choose to mourn,
but I won’t.

Amidst the groups
of aunts and uncles,
cousins and stepcousins,
great-aunts and great-uncles,
faces familiar and vague,
that cluster about your grave,
I smile,
for your mind is no longer
a victim of deterioration.

Your pain,
realizing that you can’t
remember his name—
the effort,
struggling to grasp images of the past
before they disappear.

The others,
they weep for your end.
But I,
I weep with joy,
your mind at last
liberated.



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