In the morning, by the kitchen door, paper-thin strawflowers hold out their yellow bowls. The brass bell I bought from a temple gift shop swings under a branch of dogwood: a little more weight every day, as shoots erupt and buds crack open. Even verdigrised, you’d think the light is mild, is mellow, brings nothing but the gooey oil of blessings. Who’s to say it isn’t so? And yet, and yet. Even when the wind keens like the tool of a glass-cutter bent on dividing surfaces into a liturgy of smaller parts, a screen assembles. Don’t add my name yet to the names of the dead on the wall. Don’t carve their letters edged in gilt on a crypt. Just today, I thought of how, in place of a fence to put up around a yard of my own, I’d plant jasmine— so when its asterisks of scent opened on warm nights, no one could tell where their beauty or their yearning for the other side began.
In response to Cold mountain (41): Whenever their final day arrives.