656 baba ashes small file





This week, I’ve been thinking of ashes. What they represent. Here’s something I wrote in memory of my father-in-law after helping to scatter his ashes off the coast of Seattle.


John Lacher, 1928-2010


Heavier than you’d think

if you think of ashes,

a man’s worth

tucked in a box now

passed from one

relation to the next

as we scatter what remains

on Puget Sound, though

“scatter” is too light

a word. These ashes

plunge, I say

plunge into the cold,

clear water, bone chips

and bits that even the straight

blast of the furnace couldn’t finish.

If you had known this man,

even from a distance,

you would have felt

how hard he burned

himself with blindness

and sturdy rage,

with the diligent weight

he carried in love for others.

And if you had loved him,

even from a distance, you

weren’t surprised how the dust

behaved like stars,

the million particles trailing

clouds of milky smoke

like galaxies, as beautiful

and constant as anything else

burning in the sky.





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