His Desert Pyre

Published in Quill & Parchment

The sand was unfaithful.
Belonging a moment here,
then there;
the air swept it up
like charms dangling
on its arm.
The desert a ballroom of their embrace.

The sky; flat.
No cloud in attendance,
An immaculate canvas
painted in one hue,
just blue.
His favorite
and mine.

The dunes brought drama.
Their pose, provocative;
showing off curves,
smooth like rolling Tuscan hills,
Only without the inelegance
of soil
and mud
and half-grown grass.

It was crass; the heat.
tucked under pits,
droplets of sweat
on upper lips
trickling down backs
until they drowned,
in grief-ridden skin.

Bodies were clothed in white
in hundreds,
Ghosts without sound,
feet firm on sinking ground.
Their breaths
a strange witness
to death.

It smelt black.
Violent fumes
flooding the nose,
The burning
of wood
of paper
of clarified butter
and him.

It would be painted in oil,
this caramel horizon,
and hung
in my mind
when I would rewind
to this striking place
where we had to cremate.

It was unfair
to be empty
in a place so full;
To remember beauty
when choked with despair.

But there; that was his way.
Even on final flight,
where other eyes saw only ash,
he left behind
for his daughter
a work of art,
a terrain of pure delight.