Benediction

She walks on wounded feet,
carries white roses to the willow
by the pond on the hill:
three roses,
the number of those lost or those left behind–
she can no longer remember which.
This is a sacrament;
the willow is her cathedral,
the bare earth at its roots her altar.
She scatters ashes and tears
into the silence of sunset
and feels all the forgotten words take flight.
The long years of silence are at an end.

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