I want to believe in reincarnation.  Maybe it’s because my father told me, just before he died, that he didn’t believe in an afterlife,

had no use for Heaven, didn’t care if there was a Hell, either.

He believed people turn to dust when they’re dead, and that’s it.

I’ve often wondered what it feels like to be an urn of ashes, carried home so carefully, stashed in a cupboard.

I have lost several close friends, two former bosses, parents, grandparents, and all my of uncles and aunts.

My cousins live on, except Kurt, who died after a diamondback bit him up in the White Mountains of Arizona.

I’ve said final farewells to horses, dogs, cats, friends and Sebastian, a boy I loved at 18. By summer’s end, he had broken up with me.

I let him think he ravished my heart; secretly, I was relieved. I found his old hash pipe after he moved away, kissed the stem, threw it down the garbage chute.

Euthanizing Shannon, my collie, still feels wrong, all these years later. The vet told me Shannon was suffering. She said it was the final thing a human should do for a dog.

I dream of him still, always the same dream. He flies above the aspen trees at Matthews Beach Park.

I hope she wasn’t lying.


A telemarketer from the Neptune Society asked if I ever thought about disposing of my remains.

Never, I lied, and hung up.

When my father turned 80, he bought a used Caddy and drove it hellbent toward Tucson, his coat belt flapping in the wind.

After his death, from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, I learned his car wasn’t worth that much. So I traded it for a Honda.

“I’d be embarrassed to drive around in that thing,” my mother said. “That has no style at all.”

Would my father mind? I can imagine his reply.

It’s only a car. Something to take you farther away. That’s all.

Selected byJordan Trethewey
Image credit:Kumar Vivek

Trish Saunders poetry and short fiction is forthcoming or out in The American Journal of Poetry, Medusa's Kitchen, Pacifica Poetry Review, Right Hand Pointing, Eunoia Review, Silver Birch Press, Off The Coast Literary Review and the Rye Whiskey Review. Right Hand Pointing published her chapbook, Last Note, in 2019. She lives in Seattle, formerly in Honolulu.