Ona Gritz

Tucked among my spare socks,
favorite skirts, sun screen, shampoo:
a box so dense and dark
the x-ray couldn't read it.
Of course they had to spill it all,
lace bras, backless shoes,
my floss, my books,
until they unearthed it.
"Do you know what this is?"
one guard asked the other.
Then he answered himself
as if I weren't there,
as if to say it
was to ace the test.
"This is human remains."
"It's my mother," I said,
feeling a strange mix,
unseen yet exposed,
my mother must have felt
in her hospital gown.
From that cold counter,
I gathered my things,
walked toward the plane
that would take me to my brother.
He and I, after all,
were what was left of her flesh.
That box of ash and bone
ours alone
to find a home for.