Ashes Or Dust


Not long ago, what, maybe twelve years,

And believe me, twelve years makes all the difference,

Then eleven, now a married mother with a child of three,

The pharmacist who yesterday said to me at Stop and Shop,

“Every time I see you, I want to ask, and so I shall: You, you were Kerry’s Susan, yes?”

And my world was shaken up like my photographs

Into multi dimensions of time and space

As I tried to merge the woman before me now

With the little girl sitting behind me at the synagogue

The day we buried Kerry.


Outside my windows a row of trees that were not there,

A decade ago,

Now tall shining birch trees,


How do we comprehend time?


Once living breathing loving, planning the morrow,

Now in a pine coffin encased in sorrow

We were sitting at the kitchen table,

My old father and I, as we did,

So many hundreds of times,

But now he was in a wheelchair, the legs than ran from

Roxbury to Boston Latin, the prizes, achievements,

Lost like the distant mountain outside my windows in the haze of this hot summer day, today.

Two sides of the same coin, we were,

A coin pressed from deep philosophy, too many regrets,

Too many losses, from history, and soul,

And a shared quest to understand it all, though he was worlds ahead of me, and he said,

You know Susan, you should know, soon,

We will all be forgotten.

How many years, after our deaths,

Will everyone else who ever knew us,

Also be no more?


So what is the point of our lives

I ask you?

When, soon,

We’ll all be ashes or dust.


© Susan Lynn Gesmer

July 17, 2016



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