She thinks I’ve taken up smoking.
All around the house, she empties
ashtrays from exotic locales:
Hawaii, Tahiti, St. Croix.
The kitchen trash can has become
an island of volcanic ash.
She’s unaware, no cigarettes
ever taint these lips, scar these lungs.
The crushed butts are misdirection.
I watch her dust the worn mantel,
raise the gray shape of father’s urn.
She never suffered his abuse,
prayed he’d be stricken with cancer;
pushed the pillow over his face.
I wonder if she feels it change,
a steady loss of weight each week?
Dr. Rowe said I’d learn to let
dad go a little at a time.
My housekeeper knots the trash bag,
carries more of him out the door.
Deshant Paul reads "Housekeeper":
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Angel confesses: "I saw this photograph of a cremation urn. Looked just like a gold trophy. It reminded me of killers taking ‘trophies’ from crime scenes, keepsakes to relive the memory. I thought if a killer ever sought out professional therapy, how would he interpret ‘letting go of the past’?"