A Pauper’s Ceremony

I helped to release her mother
from the morgue
cremation
money is power to release the dead

We met a time later
in a pauper’s ceremony,

she sprinkled some ashes
on her father’s grave,
a father she never knew
her mother and father

together at last
(sounds like a romantic tragedy because it was)

I tried to look into her face
and find my relation
my sister
my mother
a piece of me
and I was left empty

There was nothing there
but a stranger loosely connected by blood

When we parted
she wanted to give me something

my mother’s ashes
probably because I helped her
obtain her mother just the same
but I couldn’t take my mother away

She didn’t belong to me
she chose another life
and belonged to another tribe

I went home empty

Yet full

Some vessels are made to carry
memories of ashes and nothing more

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Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends. – Lao Tzu