Kevin Stenhouse

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Anonymous: Plate Twelve


You weren’t there

that morning we scattered her ashes

buoyed in a watery froth amongst the majestic

blooms she loved

they float away

on a tide of tears.

You weren’t there

and now I know

that’s the way it has always been. 

Now I know 

through your eyes I was but a backdrop for 

the illusion of you

a lens to magnify the dull of your 

startling insignificance.

Excruciating for her to watch

bearing witness to a tragedy that turned her to ash

long before that morning.

She drifts there


with the souls she knew and one she didn’t

in a watery paradise safe and warm because

you weren’t there.

Restorative breath of courage, I plunge

deep into a waterscape glittering with her

petals and thorns 

wash together gorgeously

confidence blossoms 

never again will I drown

in your judgment.

Now I know 

that forever (and ever) I will 



challenge and preserve 

the worst of me the best of me 

and love it all 

to ashes.