Scattering the ashes didn’t go as well as planned.
First, there were six of us,
and we’d agreed to agree on where
the scattering would take place,
finally settling on Lucy’s garden,
with its spectacular view of Mount Washington;
and second, we had to select a date
that would work six times over.
On the chosen day,
as we carried our Zip-lock bags
through the kitchen to the back door,
I saw leaves, suddenly picked up by the wind
swirling into a gold and red vortex,
spinning merrily towards the garden.
Gyp, Lucy’s dog, lifted his nose and snorted
as if he’d been sprinkled with pepper,
and then went back to sleep,
leaving me to choke on
a laughing jag that came out of nowhere,
and barely stayed down.
After five somber eulogies,
and one abstention,
we tilted our bags,
knowing the autumn wind
and the coming winter would
take care of the rest.
We returned to the house
where the smell of cinnamon
stung our senses
with the same sharpness
as fermenting apple cider.
In the spring, Lucy called,
wanting to reminisce about the day.
Unable to continue ignoring my obvious
lack of interest, she finally said,
“I found a small bone in the garden, today.
I believe it belongs to you.”