Releasing Steve

Carried like a bridal veil by the ocean breeze

Photo of Half Moon Bay Beach from the cliffs by Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer-Library of Congress

We took the cremains of Steve in a metal box
Painted a warm brown, and we all came,
Driving from Seattle, Oakland, and Belmont:
Mother Barbara, brother Don (Jack
Of all trades), Tim, lover of poetry and fine
Artist, all in black leather, and I
To bless, a day beyond Barbara’s birthday.
We drove to Cameron’s Pub, Restaurant, and Inn
For friends and helpers, Adora and Cameron.

Through the houses in construction rising,
With guaranteed buyers because, as Steve did,
Everybody loves this coastline place midway
Between San Francisco banks and South Bay tech;
Through sturdy shoreline grass, Cameron led us
To the edge of precipitous limestone cliffs
Just south of the half-moon curving coastline,
We could see its curve to the right, the sand
And sea below; the ocean turquoise-tinged,
Just for us, welcoming Steve with joy.

In sunshine, we got out on the sandy top
And circled up to say a prayer, a thank you
For Steve’s eagerness to help his whole
Life long, where so many love him and grieve
His passing once they know, but nobody’d checked
How to open the box, the metal box.
So now at the edge, gathered for the moment, now what?

Saved by brother Don’s Swiss Army knife!
He unscrewed the secured bottom and stepped to the edge
With the big plastic bag to open and release.
And the ashes, lifted by the sea breeze,
Floated across the shoreline scene like a veil
Carried by angels, and Steve settled down on the cliffs
And beach in a final embrace and farewell to all.

And back we went to Cameron’s place. We saw
The windows of the corner room where Steve had stayed.
We heard how many friends he’d had in that coast place
And went in the happily decorated pub and restaurant
For lunch to share life’s gifts and inspiration.

Aikya Param is a minister who creates visual art with fountain pen and watercolor and writes articles and poems. She is a member of Bay Area Independent Publisher’s Association, the American Poetry Society, Alameda Island Poets, Bay Area Poet’s Coalition, and Benicia Writer’s Salon. For more from Aikya, click here.

Aikya Param is a licensed minister, a visual artist, and writer.

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