by Barbara Crooker
It is early March, each day a little bit greener,
crocus and snowdrops already in bloom, daffodils
sending up the tips of their spears.
When summer comes, we will take you to the river,
trickle your ashes through our fingers.
You will return to us in rain and snow,
season after season, roses, daisies, asters,
chrysanthemums. Wait for us on the other side.
The maple trees let go their red-gold leaves in fall;
in spring, apple blossoms blow to the ground
in the slightest breeze, a dusting of snow.
Let our prayers lift you, small and fine as they are,
like the breath of a sleeping baby. There is never
enough time. It runs through our fingers like water
in a stream. How many springs are enough,
peepers calling in the swamps? How many firefly-spangled
summers? Your father is waiting on the river bank,
he has two fishing poles and is baiting your hook.
Cross over, fish are rising to the surface,
a great blue heron stalks in the cattails,
the morning mist is rising, and the sun is breaking
through. Go, and let our hearts be broken.
We will not forget you.