Like a spot of blood against the blue sky,

a Cardinal perches on the shepherd’s hook

where I hang suet and a cylinder of seed-feeders

I gave Sylvia for her last Mother’s Day.

The birds are a gift to me now. Her beautiful

ashes fill a marble blue urn and rest

near one of her crazy quilts in the foyer to welcome visitors.

Buddha is there on a table and guards her keepsakes,

a cleaned-out bookshelf holds her high school portrait,

a cross-stitch she made for me. Every little corner

has its memory of how short a sweet life can be.

— Marty Silverthorne

From Collected Poems of Marty Silverthorne

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