When we brought your ashes to the beach
at the end of Pilgrim Road, I poured them out
as fast as I could, standing knee-deep
in the seaweedy shallows, because it had started
to rain, and I didn’t want you to get wet.
What was I thinking? You were returning
to our first mother, the sea. But all I wanted
to do was gather up every gritty particle,
every chip of bone, then mix them with my bare
hands, using sand and mud, saliva and tears,
and bring you back, my own personal golem.
How could I have let you sift out of my fingers,
grain by grain? The heavier bits sank, mixed
with the broken shells; the lighter ones blew
in the wind, stuck to the patches of foam.
How can you be gone?
first appeared in South Carolina Review, 2011, to appear in the forthcoming book Gold. Barbara Crooker (2013 or 2014) in the Poeima Poetry Series of Cascade Books, a division of Wipf & Stock. www.barbaracrooker.com