Floating Ladders4
By Ricki Mandeville

I return you to air, free you to wind,
the light, pure powder of you scattered,
gliding west on slipstreams of cormorants.
The silk dust of your bones.

The light, pure powder of you scattered
on a red altar of clouds.
The silk dust of your bones
a delicate stain against the sky.

On a red altar of clouds,
the solemn litany of sunset,
a delicate stain against the sky.
The sea chanting in Latin voices.

The solemn litany of sunset:
salt to ashes, ashes to salt.
The sea, chanting in Latin voices
as waves reach to gather you.

Salt to ashes, ashes to salt.
You are a fine smoke on the water
as waves reach to gather you,
a pale film on my hands.

You are a fine smoke on the water,
settling, drifting,
a pale film on my hands
as I dust you toward home.

Settling, drifting,
you glide west on slipstreams of cormorants
as I dust you toward home,
returning you to air, freeing you to wind.

She Writes,Anthology, 2011

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