ROUTINES OF THE LIVING
By: Laura Ohlmann
At Mom's grave, I brush the sugar ants away
with my fingertips and empty out the copper basin
that once held living flowers. No one has visited
in months, and what remains is dead
scattered beneath my feet. A woman brings
birthday balloons to her dead beloved
while I prep new flowers to be placed
on the grave. Around the stones, moss and twigs
gather in memoriam, while Dad sleeps in bed.
How long will it be until I'm scattering his ashes
along the wind like pollen falling from this bouquet?
Everything we do is to remember:
the dresser left in the hallway full of Mom's clothes,
the shirts folded the same as fifteen years earlier,
the grass picked away from the plate to reveal
carved daffodils that will never bloom, or die.
Laura Ohlmann is a Florida poet and an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida. Her work is forthcoming in The Rumpus, The Lindenwood Review, and The New Southern Fugitives and has appeared in The Maine Review, Honey&Lime, and South Florida Poetry Journal. She enjoys sleeping in her converted Honda Element and biking up mountains with her partner and dog.