Gray Choices


Gray Choices

I come from the dry cleaners
chemical steam staining
my shallow breath
like my brother’s ashes
that cannot stay
on the mantle watching us
wondering where to put them

I come from the tulip garden
tall stems like picket fences
that need painting
petals drop and rest
in dirty sunshine
sullen remnants of the bloom
you can only be pretty once
so bury them
in the loam

I come from the pot
of pea soup with ham hocks
a haven of anticipation
dinner will be peaceful
no brothers fighting
over the television station
or ashes absorbing smell
like wet towels hanging
yesterday’s stories told
to the dingy wind

I come from the hamper
my mother’s hands reading
the layers of each day
underwear, socks, his favorite t-shirt
with its armpit stains
washed one more time
on ‘heavy duty’

I come from ashes
from funerals
I come from gray choices
never made


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