For years I dreamt of ashes
assembling on the shore

and in the morning
like every morning

his body gone—irrevocable,
like a name, desperate 

on a child’s tongue. Even the word father

to fall away when I speak.
Our desire so far outside ourselves

we might just become it.
This is him, I say, holding the photograph,  

window-light catching dust
as it hangs on air. 

I once thought the body could disappear
and I was right. And yet— 

I can’t look at this empty page
without seeing his hands

opening my hands
into light. 

I can’t think of anything else
when I try to. 

There is no other way to say this
the poem tells me.

If I tell the story in reverse
it still ends with nothing.