Stand at the cliff's edge,
straining sight into the shroud,
toes even with the edge,
bound by a darkness thick and heavy on the tongue.
Soapy ashes cling to hands
searching for a heartbeat to claim.
Perhaps our hands will touch and clasp.
Perhaps we will lean into each other,
away from the ash-laden wind.
Hear the death-sigh; my heart bounds.
My fingers sift the air, finding
no one to hold me.
Step from the edge
into the wind,
into the cold fire,
adding ash to those before.
Know the death-sigh was our own.

Apr. 1996
Published in The Phoenix, 1996