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My daughter's family, myself and both sons
just returned from Fathers' Day and a week
at a barrier island off the coast of New Jersey.


I had packed my husband's ashes and twelve
Chinese Wishing Lights, technically illegal
but environmentally biodegradable
with hilariously translated directions.


After talking with the Vicar at the Episcopal Church,
borrowing a dilapidated Book of Common Prayer,
carefully choosing suitable readings for the deceased
and the bereaved; I chose Thursday night,
weather permitting, after everyone but me went mini-golfing.


I walked alone as the sky darkened;
saw a dead sand shark, a dead manta ray,
left beached by annoyed fishermen, hoping for fluke.


Took the wrong path back as rain pelted
while the sky hung dark clouds in warning.
Passed one dead crow, a smashed pineapple,
poison ivy withered by pesticides.


Hardly good omens for a joyous release of
his soul to the ocean at dusk. Yet the storm, after
sideways sheets of heavy rain and hail
graced us with a dazzling sunset then
just enough darkness and gentle drizzle, as if Heaven wept.


Brevity Quest 2016
178