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Ashes

By Virginia Lee Hines

What most we wish to forget returns to haunt

in dreams, in odd listless reverie.

What most we love burns to ashes of regret.

A taste of bitter leaves

reminds us to choose wisely.

Memory of your voice and touch,

my longing for you, echoes above wind sounds.

Regret reaches far, like barbed rose limbs

catching on bare arms, drawing blood

red as any flower. I'd wish you lick

my flesh clean with a warm tongue.

Instead of ashes thrown to wind

I want you human, not as indifferent air.

Let us be flesh on flesh, mouth to mouth,

barely giving time to breathe.

I remember your promise that time

would deepen our passion. As if we had time

to spare, time to practice love

in tall grass, on a moonlit hill,

or among Fall golden leaves.

What most haunts in dreams and reverie

is remembering your ashes scattered

on that Colorado mountainside

blowing in the wind, eluding forever

my lips, my warm ardent breath.


Virginia Lee Hines lives in Rochester where she leads a women's poetry group and writes the Woman Poet column for "The Other Herald." A former Chicago public schoolteacher, she has been an active voice in the Finger Lakes-area arts and feminist communities since 1964. Her first full-length collection of poems, "Taboos," will be published later this year by Hidden Valley Farm Books in Perry.