Ashes (first pub. by Algebra Of Owls, and in my collection Wish)

The Ash is common enough –
with keys the wind misplaces
and in winter, velvet leaf buds
that recall those long

black gloves I wore,
to trace your trembling
outline – neck to hip
and down a little more.

Its fissured bark is
a history of cuts, as if
the past can be sloughed
like a worn out coat.

As green leaves fell
I glimpsed a woman
in the golden copse,
or maybe a hare.
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First published by Algebra Of Owls 2018

Butterfly

When Persephone stopped playing outside
sometimes you’d catch a spectral
glimpse of her through the window,
waving at her mother gardening.

One summer, her mother found
a dead red admiral on the path.
It was a mere slip of a thing;
and it must have just expired

fluttering from flower to flower
unfettered in the lonely garden.
The mother put it in a matchbox
which she guarded with her life.

Every year she thought of
new ways to dispose of it;
to set it free through flames
or simply in the act of letting go.

Of course it was magical thinking,
to imagine a ritual
that could heal the heart.
Never was a butterfly so heavy.