ASHES (to my mother).Poem.Barbara Crooker

 

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