Start at the beginning,
And end at the end.
I've kept a little chapel for you
Stuffed with the memories of bright summer days
Dried flowers, dove calls, and dust
At the darkeneing of every evening
I would put sand in paper bags
And candles in the sand
And place them along the path
And light them one by one
So someday you would find your way back to me
Some nights there were many
Blazing a trail of fire in the darkness
Some nights there were few
Shining pinprick beacons of light
But the number gradually diminished
Until one night there were none.
I light a tiny fire of unsent letters and watch it burn,
Then turn my back on the ashes
And the summer days
And the fresh-cut flowers
And the mournful cries of the doves
I lock the chapel behind me
Lay your memory to rest
In the columbarium I built for you
And with my head wrapped in chiming silence
I fade into the new-minted dawn.
Start at the beginning,
End when you're done.

Notes: Luminaria are a traditional Christmas display. I saw them in New Mexico with my grandparents many years ago. It was explained to me that the lights were meant to light the path to your door, so that Jesus could find his way and bless your house. As we drove through Albuquerque, I noticed that while the light displays in the more wealthy neighborhoods were impressively elaborate, the simple candles in paper bags were what really moved me.

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