Memorial

Memorial

It’s nice to remember the houses
floating on water. It’s nice
to stand on shore and sing
a hymn of praise
while candles burn
in the windows.
It’s nice to dream the loaves
rising in ovens
and the floors dusted with flour,
the women with beautiful
hair falling like cities
into darkness, the long
nights of love. It’s nice to pretend
we could have saved them.
It’s nice to say a few
words as spring turns to fall,
as fall turns to winter, and winter to spring.
It’s nice to return again
and stare at the stars
so bright and forgettable.
It’s nice to remember laughter
spilling into the wind,
roses sprouting from their fleshy mouths
as children fall down
and down into the dirt.
It’s nice to remember the voices
calling for you, calling
back the curtains, calling
through the long sleeves, the hollow places.
It’s nice to remember the feast
of speckled blackbirds
huddled on the rims
of roofs, the stars
drawn in ash on the doorways,
the lament of uncles—
the long dance that kicked
up the dust and crinkled leaves,
the bodies waiting to burn,
the ash drifting on water.