'From the Ashes' by M. Wilkinson

I write with my dead husband’s pen, the shaft, smooth as his shaven
cheek - the ink, black as his hair and heart. The children are glad
he’s gone. Bruises faded, limbs healed, their laughter fills the
farmhouse rooms.

On that autumn night long ago, I unscrewed hooks from basement walls,
burned the leather straps that once held me.

My heart trembled between fear and elation. I intended to consign
every vestige of the man, and my marriage to infinity. Fire is a
cleanser. Old love letters curled, sparked red at the edges, and flew
like small crows towards the moon. The bonfire rose high. The wood
burned to orange like the coals of hell. An odour, reminiscent of
barbequed pork, filled the air.

With the light of dawn, scorched earth cooled. I dug deep into it.
Ash and bone, white against the dark soil, rattled against the spade.

Now a tree marks the spot, I see only beauty in its existence. My
grandchildren play in its shade, and the tree thrives on the food
beneath its roots.

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