essays by shé


They are holding hands, leaning back and spinning. Their twirling (or maybe their laughter?) generates light. Around and round, faster and faster, gazing at each other, eyes on the prize: mother and son. There is only Love.

It was time: five months after she left her body. She began the process on Johnny’s birthday, May 28, the day the doctor called.

I pack her ashes in the red knapsack, similar to one I had as a kid. I also pack Coe Coe’s ashes, who mothered my mother and grandmothered me.

It’s sprinkering at the trailhead (baby-brother-speak for sprinkling). The path is muddy; I slip, but don’t fall. Turn right at Mango Trail, her favorite fruit. Another quarter mile to the big banyan tree.

“Are you a witch?” a perceptive little Maui girl asked her once. Mom was up in the canopy.

“I’m a Tree Witch!” she responded. And she was — spending hours on, under, or near various trees throughout my life.

Coe Coe first, to lead the way. I unscrew the cap of the filigreed blue bottle her granddaughter gave me on our last visit. A breeze blows the ashes over Hanalei Valley, where the river sparkles down to the sea. Next, Mom, all around the gloriously wide trunk. A fold of it makes a protected alcove facing the misty mountains and ocean. I place yellow ginger blossoms in the sweet spot.

After tossing two fuchsia orchids over the bluff, I raise my arms to the cloudy sky and thank her for birthing me.

Thank you for this day. Thank you for this life. Thank you for this body. I am loving you.

Mary Pat and Johnny, 1964

Mary Pat and Johnny, 1964





2 responses to “Muertos”

  1. Kevin Avatar

    beautiful piece–coming full circle–some things are elemental.

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