Safe Distance from the Flame

A safe distance from the flame, one length of a broom
away from nightmares—Dad holding a charred broom.

Visions of him sweeping ashes, our burning home
“Please Daddy,” I begged him, “Please drop the broom.”

When I was six, Daddy took me to the matinee—
Walt Disney’s debut of Bedknobs and Broom

A Nepalese poet speaks of his father’s funeral pyre,
guiding body into flame with the handle of a broom.

Could cremation deter the promised happily ever after-life?
Do we return only to sweep our own ashes with a broom?

After Dad’s funeral, his buddies tell me a tale—
their old flat up in flames, Dad grabbing a broom.

Strangers rummage through his old suits and golf gear.
Daughter sweeps garage, holding strong her father’s broom.

Shawn Aveningo is an award-winning, globally published poet whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including L.A’.s poeticdiversity. She is co-founder of The Poetry Box®, managing editor of The Poeming Pigeon and website designer for VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. Shawn’s a proud mother of three who shares in the creative life with her husband in Beaverton, Oregon. www.thepoetrybox.com