There is confusion.
Even after the phone call
I can only see you alive.
The message says you are a box of ashes now.
Maybe there are a few stubborn pieces of bone
and hard white teeth
but no face in repose
no soft white hands folded on your chest
nothing to offer closure.
I’m told death was immediate,
sudden as a hailstorm or
flashflood in an arroyo.
All I have right now is this drizzle,
useless for washing away the dust,
turning it to silt that sticks to my boots,
staining the floor with tracks that are not yours.
It will be the same come winter.
As snow melts on the wooden floor
tracks will appear,
you will be nowhere in sight.
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 –
anywhere there might be tracks.
All I can find is the sun
caught up in vines that grow on the fence
and I wonder at the strangeness of imagination
that sees your face in the silver glow.