The sound of glass shattering. The house stops. I had a lot of feelings. “It was an accident!” my daughter cried. I know, Sugarpie, I know. A heavy, glass ornament is an accident from the start. The ornament was half-filled with sand and shell-bits my aunt gathered from the beach where we had released my mother’s ashes into the ocean. Cancer is an accident of cells that eroded my mother’s body, while the multiplication of cells that became my daughter evolved mine. The double helix of life and death had me windswept, has me still. Nothing is still; now a scattering of sand on my floor. The poetry of life is swept into the dustbin of our days along with everything else. I carefully sweep the sand and glass from the ornament, pinching some to put in a jar, saying Goodbye – again – and my tears, sisters to the saltwater that holds my mother’s ashes, bless my cheeks. My daughter holds the dustbin.

Prose by Allison Winningstad

Photo by Adam Strong

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