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When I signed for her ashes

I received her, as once
          she received me
into her lyric hold
          and let me ride anchor there,
smaller than the letter alif.

They gave her into my hands,
          seven pounds, two ounces,
as once they had given
          me into her hands.

I set her on the hearth shrine,
          as she set me once a place at her table,
among her other needy charities.

After nine months I scattered her
          back to that cold, delphine Atlantic of hers,
to tidal squalls that rip
          and sigh their salt across the rocks,

as once she let me fall

          onto this world's
gasping, shouting, love-stained shore.

Patrick Donnelly

Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin
Four Way Books

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