my dad, and the girl scouts, taught me how to read a map.
to interpret topography, climb a mountain, return home.
to carry a compass at all times, and to use it.
if you have this, you can never get lost.
for years i kept one in my purse.
now i remember your crooked brown finger,
tracing the line, then pointing out the ridge.
now i map my past, trace roads and ridges
on satellite maps, hunt out your old campsites,
feel the curve of the land and the road in
the shape of my childhood,
to find my way back to you.
to bring what is left of your body
and what is left of my childhood,
back to one place,
and feel that long sunlight,
and the ash in my hands.

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