The palms we raised in celebration
burned to ashes,
moistened with oil.
Death’s greasy stain on our foreheads,
not easy to brush off.
When my barber combs the hair
off my forehead, she stiffens,
and talk about the bright day strains
to recover the easy way between us.
Without the body to kneel before,
to cry over and touch,
we feel awkward—
rows of chairs facing
a polished urn on a pedestal.
Before I start the new fire, I shovel
out the cold ashes and scatter them
over the vegetable garden, a white dust
the wind drives back
into my eyes and mouth.