Alongside Her Dying

The courtyard Buddha sits before the light
fringe of white alyssum in dark November.

Let those frayed ruffles stand
for what fades away these mornings,

as though Persephone had gathered
the blooms to strew downriver.

The first grey clouds drift
like something torn from her hem.

In the vault of morning, memory strays
as juncos do, rummaging among brown stalks of peonies.

Windy gusts drive pellets of rain
through the disheveled day—

Rain tries all the windows
and pounds at the lintels.

Grief picks the locks,
slips in without knocking.

-Alicia Hokanson

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