There was confusion.
Even after the phone call,
I could only see you alive.
The message said you are a box of ashes now,
maybe a few stubborn pieces of bone,
no skin, no hair, nothing to offer closure.
I’m told death was immediate,
sudden as a hailstorm or
flashflood in the arroyo.
All that’s left is this drizzle,
useless for washing away the dust,
turning it to silt that sticks to my boots,
stains the floor with tracks that are not yours.
It will be the same come winter.
I am sorry you keep dying in my memory,
once should be enough for anyone to endure.
I look for you carefully in words, the woods,
in water gathering in the street –
wherever there might be tracks.
All I can find is the sun caught up in the vines
that grow on the fence,
and I wonder at the strangeness of imagination
that sees your face in the silver glow.