Winner of the Kansas Poetry Month contest: bright skies or blossom (professional category)
Cold sun brings this mourning season to an end
one year since my mother’s death. Last winter thaw
my brother shoveled clay-dirt, she called it gumbo,
over powdery substance the crematorium sent us
not her, but fine, lightened granules—all else
rendered into invisible elements. That handful
from the pouch, un-boxed, was tucked into plotted soil,
the churchyard columbarium, under a brass plaque
and brick retaining wall, scant semblance of permanence.
Now my mother is a garden—lilies and chrysanthemums
feeding from that slight, dampened, decomposing ash.
Her voice stilled. One ruddy robin in the grass, dipping.
— Denise Low