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I felt such freedom, when they had departed.
But once I’d seen them off and turned to leave,
I wondered was I really broken-hearted
enough.  Would they be hurt by my relief?

And yet their ashes, drifting with the currents
where they were scattered, along a favorite beach—
their ashes didn’t know they were my parents,
and they were traveling far beyond my reach.

Mark Jarman

Mark Jarman is the author of Dailiness: Essays on Poetry (Paul Dry Books, 2020). Zeno’s Eternity, his next collection of poetry, will be published by Paul Dry Books early next year. He is Centennial Professor of English, Emeritus, at Vanderbilt University. His website is