“Misha” by Gudrun Bortman published in Fireweed, released in Oct 2018 by The Poetry Box.
that winter you asked me to scatter
your ashes in my garden sheltered
under the big oak’s branches at the canyon edge
& I promised
thinking that time still far away.
That spring one day in March they handed you
to me heavy
in the zip-lock bag hidden inside
a velvet satchel.
I took you to my house & kept you
tucked into that wooden box you loved,
carved with horses
ambivalent about who we had been together.
And then the fire came mingled
ash with ash
till rain & wind disturbed
the frothy layers & I found a small heap
gritty rose-grey flecked
with flakes of bone.
I shoveled you as best I could carried you
to the old oak now charred
spread you around the blackened trunk
and sat with you and asked forgiveness