Fireplace

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Bananas love ashes in summer.
Time to spread some in the yard.
The fireplace grate is empty,

It’s easy to put things off. Even fire.
No one was diligent like my brother,
who sifted broken shells for hours

looking for shark’s teeth. Once, he held
his hand out with a shattered sand dollar
to show me little bones inside.

His other hand flew up and fluttered—
he said the bones were white doves, the peace
that passes understanding. He believed

in omens and Jesus and that one thing
could also be another. Time to feed
plants? At the first thunderclap.

The grate is empty, the urn is full.
His ashes scatter under the banana trees.
Rain dissolves fine particles, but not
the shards that passed on through.

FIREPLACE by Michele Sharpe


Photo used under CC.

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About Author

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Michele Sharpe, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, adoptee, and former trial attorney. She's written for The New York Times, Witness, The Washington Post, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Catapult, and Guernica. Recent poems can be found in Rogue Agent, Glass, SWWIM, B O D Y, and elsewhere.

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