Nancy Mitchell: "Ceremony"




From the silk pouch she poured

the white stream of your ashes,

then let fall the chain

of dog tags that clinked

your slog through Viet Nam,

napalm fog, then hung for decades

from your Saab's rear-view. Unstrung

beads from Belize like blue glass

seeds slipped from your daughter's

fingers. From a clutched hand your son

let fly eagle, owl, and osprey

feathers scavenged from miles

walked with you along the river.

We who could sing sang

Amazing Grace while a braid

of lit sweet grass wrapped

a wispy wreath around us.


Nancy Mitchell is the author of two volumes of poetry: The Near Surround (Four Way Books, 2002) and Grief Hut (Cervena Barva Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared in Agni, Poetry Daily, Salt Hill Journal, and Green Mountains Review, and are anthologized in Last Call (Sarabande Books), The Working Poet (Autumn House Press) and The Plume Anthology of Poetry 2013. Mitchell teaches at Salisbury University and serves as the Associate Editor of Special Features for Plume