The Sounds of Ash

The wind carries

whispers, words unsaid,

and now I know

it rasps from

my father’s voice. We let him go

from a monolith, on the slope of a


world, with

a city like a bonfire—an ember nucleus

nestled in twigs and logs and leaves—



The sound dins

from the grains of

desert salt, the crumbles

of beach sand, the cigarette ash

of blaze-charred refuse—


and anything else

that glides





All the time spent with smoke in our mouths,

knowing singe would bring him back, transform his matter—he, emerging

from the landfill heaps,

muddling himself

home, muscle-spasmed, stretching

out, folding forward—ringing the doorbell

with his chin, falling back into

our arms.


The wind carries secrets.

My father died a poor catholic

that hid his faith from

an atheist son like

a mutation.


Now I’ve captured him in a vial that hangs

around my neck, sealed off

from air, silencing his cries—as a god

could do, as a father’s hand

does to the back of

the neck of a stifled