by Geoff Page

Geoff Page

Ashes at the funeral home
six hundred still to be collected
small boxes, cardboard, filed in rows
a kind of shell grit for the chickens
fifteen years six hundred still
that somewhere somehow should be scattered:
sown like seed across a paddock
thrown as gravel on the water
or set there on the mantelpiece
and added to at parties
or dug perhaps in some well-loved
old gardener's acidic corner
that needs a spot of lime
or tossed aloft like hard confetti
at weddings in the park
where at the end he might have sat
or stowed in brass behind a name
the cemetery as mail exchange
and postbox minus key.
How is it that they cannot face
this morning's meeting long deferred
this grey irrelevance of ashes
against what dawn and memory bring
so vertical and three-dimensioned
though growing slowly blurred?
They cannot bear to sign the book
a woman at the counter holds
so long inured to tears.
And some themselves
who would have come
are patient on the shelves.

Last updated February 22, 2023