When sweet Papa died, Mama & I carried his body to the volcano. We cried & wailed our Family Song over the island, ‘til birds took off in respect of our ritual mourning.

Tears fell onto the ceremonial Rain lilies I placed over his eyes & we rolled him limb by limb into the surging heat-liquid.

“When we pass, we gotta keep lookin’ out for our loves,” Mama whispered. “In da’ ground we can’t see nothin’, & we get restless & real mad. When we fall in da’ fiya we fly away into da’ sky & see our babies.”

So, we watched Papa burn. I had never seen such color while his skin sizzled, like the bloody looking wildflowers in the forest. I saw his skin crisp & meld like the metal that so disturbed us.

Mama & I stared as a dank smoke rose into the air, & I inhaled my Papa one more time. He flew, a Heron of the Beyond, into the misty clouds above.

We sat leaking while Papa-Cloud drifted, exceeding mortal reach. Wings outstretched, he saw the island.

He had to be happy now. Relief overwhelmed me.

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