Keeping Secrets

After Linda Pastan

What secrets do the ashes keep
from the wholeness of the trees
from the splintered pieces of paper
from me stoking this fire–
If I could but read each spark
that whispers into ashes
I could know what troubled you that night

You gathered letters and diaries
dried flowers and ribbons
tied them all up and tossed them into the fire
I thought heartache
but you swore it wasn’t so
You claimed giving up the ghost
but I saw the tears as the bundle burned

If he were dead you said, it would be easier
And as I waited for more discovery
the flames flickered and died
taking the secrets with them

Ponderings While Riding the Lift

These drivers rarely mind the bumps
that rattle their passengers
no matter that they are disabled–
for grace sake, you are buckled in

They race along streets
and intersections—which frighten you
just to get you to your destination
on time or late, it matters not to them

They don’t have to speak to you
in fact, you are told not to speak to them
while driving—most are rude anyway
a few will give their names

but only as they drop the lift
to let you amble inside
once the door closes though
so do their mouths

And yet, there is no silence
as the van squeaks and rumbles
and you cannot help but wonder
is it begging to not speak

is it telling you—in its own gesture
that it has told stories of its journeys
a million times now
and all it wants is to be left alone

to be cast into a graveyard
of other over-worked vans and buses
to be given the chance to be silent
while rust eats away at it

And as you rattle along on busy streets
you too wish for the peace of a graveyard