Autumn’s Impalpable Ash


if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

No one, but no one–with the possible lyrical co-equal of Lin-Manuel Miranda–writes love like Pablo Neruda.

No preposition necessary: it’s not that he wrote “of” love.  His words are indistinguishable from the emotion itself.

Both the flames and their lingering ash.

Sultry summer’s torrent and autumn’s cool unrolling.

The smooth, icy crystal moon and the log’s wrinkled body.

Both the song and after.

Every sense, every moment, carrying us forward and ceaselessly back, to and from those we love and have loved.

Hard butterscotch candies, wrapped tightly in red-gold cellophane twisted at both ends, carrying a hint of the scent of the soft saffron leather handbag from which my grandmother would fish out and present us with her signature treat.  Grandma Jackie’s cheese triangles, fresh August tomatoes, tiny rosemary branches.  Purple cauliflower on a boat at the equator.  A final taste of lemon on a mint-green swab.

The sweet rose soap which we used to wash our hands in the same hospital room where we stayed with four newborn babies.  Other hospitals, emergency rooms, stifling heat and hospital smells, bitterly bleached linen.

Voices I can still hear long after they fell silent.  My father’s unique pauses, now echoed in my eldest, as he translated the unseen universe for us liberal arts types.  My friend’s mother’s Dutch-accented English.  The lost laughs of sons before their voices grew deep and, at least for a time, it seemed impossible to laugh.  My own voice when it faltered.  My husband’s voice, as it never did, still greeting calls to two of our children’s phones.

How it felt to hold the hands of now grown children.  The aching absence of the strong hand that held a gold wedding band until it went on a chain around my neck.

The things we carry often aren’t things at all.




About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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2 Responses to Autumn’s Impalpable Ash

  1. rutakintome says:

    the things we carry are tokens that give entrance to stories, people, tiny, little moments that gleam like gold, and love…

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