All the temples in the world, an impasto
of pressed palms, prayer and prostration;
the wedding tents garlanded with marigolds;
the broad river reflecting banked pyres;
the longboats pushed into currents cradling
sleeping kings; the ossuaries’
shadowy niches, a mosaic of femur and masseter;
and the chalk-barren barrows
aligned with the equinox, plunder-strewn
and chilled; the businesslike crematory
with its urn destined for the columbarium;
the gangway lifting from the boat;
all the hands waving as the loved one recedes
in a beautiful goodbye.
Devon Balwit writes in Portland, OR. She is a poetry editor for Minute Magazine and has six chapbooks out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); and Risk Being/Complicated (self-published with the artist Lorette Luzajic). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Stillwater Review, Rattle, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, and more.