Ashes in the River

by John Grey

My one regret
is that we didn’t toss his ashes
in this river,
the slow meandering stream
that was his habitat
more than the cottage,
certainly more than any funeral home
and hole in the ground.

What more could we have asked for
than a sky as clear as this,
sun lightly breaking apart the surface
to reveal the fish, the diadems within.

An urn, a prayer, a blessing
and his favorite fishing ground –
he could drift as lazily as the line he cast,
the peaceful moments he created
just by being in this place.

But others preferred ritual
to rose petals and daisies
tossed into the current
for accompaniment.
But how could a long line of dark cars,
a priest’s solemn intonations,
match the speck of dust
on a momentary swell,
the color filling out his journey.

Someone said
a stone is permanent,
ashes in the steam
end up as trout food.
He had no idea
how judiciously
he made my case.


A Note About the Author: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.