Four years you sat in mom’s closet.
Behind the birthday soaps, hand creams and Christmas-card packs.
In a closet
In a packet
In a box with plastic engraving on the outside.
So tightly sealed that when it came to the hour
of your belated release
you would not budge.
So Vaughn and I marched to the garden- shed
in search of a tool box
Along the way
jokes about what a tenacious old- gal you were
How we were now going to need a crow-bar to wrestle you out.
A screw-driver proved sufficient.
I set eyes upon the saw-dust and silt.
from the flames
bone and body reduced
that it should come to
I did not know how to go about it
No one did
Suggested putting you it in a bowl
passing it around (as one might do a plate of crisps at a cocktail party)
So each could take a handful and toss tearfully to the wind
A suggestion too macabre for some
too afraid to touch the remains
to brush burnt bones between finger-tips
like kissing the lips of the dead
Ash, no more icky
I said, having my say
than handling the burnt- lawn -aftermath of a Sunday braai.
till it was agreed to tip you into the flower-pot
Out you tumbled
in a heavy silver-stream
Leaving the Frangipanies
Trembling ashen gray
While miss Holiday, miss Billy