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No one else wanted the old hoover
So I took it, added to a mover’s load
Of furniture and memories inherited
The last time you downsized.

No harm, I thought, in keeping
An extra for the basement.
But after all, It stood unused
Until this time of quarantine
When I was home to notice how the dust built up.
Unzipping the case, I found

The bag was nearly full
Loaded with the dust
of the last home you lived in on your own
Eight years ago.

When this dust was collected, you were still alive, Now
Your ashes rest on my sister’s closet shelf
Wrapped in your favorite shawl
Waiting out a pandemic before a burial gathering.

I take out the bag and fold it for the trash
Pausing as I hold in my hands
This dust from a completed life
Ashes to ashes, we say.  Dust to dust.

Photo by David Tip on Unsplash

Kathleen Henderson Staudt

A finalist in the 2021 Paraclete Poetry contest, Kathleen Henderson Staudt (Kathy) has published 3 books of her own poetry, most recently Good Places. She has also edited This Thing Called Poetry, an anthology of poems by young adult cancer survivors. Kathy has worked as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the Washington, DC area, including Virginia Theological Seminary and Wesley Theological Seminary. She is passionate about living and fostering an open-hearted and always-growing faith, grounded in the  Christian tradition. Trained in the art of Spiritual Guidance, she finds that her one-on-one work with people, accompanying them on their faith journeys, has become the source of energy for all facets of her writing and teaching. She teaches regularly  in the Adelynrood School for Spiritual Direction, sponsored by the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross an intentional community of women dedicated to a life of intercessory prayer, thanksgiving, social justice, and simplicity of life, which is also her own community. She has authored 2 scholarly books and many articles on the British artist and poet David Jones, whose work is rooted in a sense of connection between art and sacrament. She has also written and taught widely on the Anglican spiritual writer Evelyn Underhill. She serves as academic director of the David Jones Research center and as president of the Evelyn Underhill Association. Her website is