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Jay Carson

Ashes of Love

is the song I was humming this Good Friday morning,

that old bluegrass tune my cousin taught me 

way before he developed dementia

and forgot how to take his medicine.

He was laid out last month

at Copeland’s Funeral Home,

where I am dressing to go now.

This time to see the waxy remains of my friend Rodger,

open-casketed there.

Heard he looks like hell.


I was recently in the Holy Land, as I learned

to call it now that death, not yet the rule

among my friends, is no longer the exception. 

With other ancients I walked the Via Dolorosa,

placed a pleading note in the Wailing Wall.

And sailed a boat on the Nile, 

wondering how to age so long and well.

My elder men friends and I sport worn-out faces, 

shaving no longer a manicure of lush bush,

but a weeding around a cracked sidewalk of wrinkles.

Miracle metals replace our bones.

Some heroes now in wheelchairs, 

rolling toward an end. 


I have the promise of the upstart Nazarene,

of more than the elaborate headstone

my legal will demands, but will I have your love 

beyond these last words?

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