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Our Ashes Together For All Time
by Roy Dorman

“At fifteen, I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.”
     - Li Po, 8th Century A.D.

“ Take a look at this,” I say to my wife.
“A young woman,
most likely in an arranged marriage,
after previously having been shy and bashful
has finally fallen in love with her husband.”

We are at our university’s student union,
having some beers
while reading and people watching.
I’m showing her lines from a poem
by the Chinese poet, Li Po.

“Her love is so great
that she would like her ashes
to be mixed with his after death
so that they can be together forever.
Since I’ll probably die first, men usually do,
you could mix your ashes with mine like in the poem.”

“In order to have my ashes to mix with yours,
I’d have to have died,”
she says with a patient look that I’ve seen before.
“And if I’m dead,
I can’t very well mix our ashes.”

After delivering this judgment
on my romantic plan for the future,
with a small sigh,
she goes back to her reading.

“Well, we could have someone else mix them,”
I mumble speculatively to myself
Around a sip of beer.
Smiling to myself,
I go back to my own reading.

Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He is the submissions editor of Lake City Lights, an online literary site, and has had poetry and flash fiction published recently in a number of online magazines.