In death there is no forgiveness
he lies frozen, a week in the morgue
on top of ice, mouth, sealed with sugar,
toothless; he’d come for implants – the shock
of extraction a “factor in his stroke”.
we wash him, my cousins, uncles and I,
and shrouded bear him shouldered to the pyre;
Neem, Mango, ten trees chopped to fuel the fire
that beacons through the night. By dawn redacted,
hot ash sparking, some small bones still intact,
which my mother, forgiving, sifts to collect.
i cannot. He broke her; memories’ page
replays her daily bloodied, the helpless rage
of my early childhood. I, though saddened,
reject his death’s plea to be pardoned.
he was neither husband nor a father,
I could not love him and will not hereafter.