These are your ashes. We’ve carried them for years in baskets, urns, boxes, and lockets. A fine dust clouds our skies. A lock of your hair is hemmed by a selvedge. The cloth adorns an altar in your finest shrine.
Dear Empire, we are an obedient people. We are intimate beyond death, and anxious for your return. We’ve kept your letters close to our chests. Dear Empire, our arenas still follow your lead.
Come back from where you dwell. In the days you have left us, we’ve nothing to do but count the elements: it is not raining. It is raining. A garland of flowers dries on marble.
From Post Subject: A Fable by Oliver de la Paz, copyright © 2014 Oliver de la Paz. Reprinted by permission of The University of Akron Press. Unauthorized duplication not permitted.