That Which Remains
Benjamin Dugger

    For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
                                                              Psalm 103:14 (RSV) 

Thin, grayish-white layers cover
dresser, highboy, and nightstand
like veneers of pulverized wood ash.
Early morning light reveals how
ornamental the mahogany tops
and protruding edges appear
in contrast to the vertical panels
and brass hardware adornments.
My sleeping quarters look more
like unkept museum than bedroom,
displaying ever-new collections
of earth’s ubiquitous commodity–
dust particles tiny enough to hover 
in air as unnoticed clouds, invisible
to my eye as they drift and fall,
their settled presence visible
and unsettling to me.

These superfine fragments   
overpower me as they expose 
and mock the raw insignificance
of my human frame, how silent,
dormant, scattered my remains  
will be–like a powdery shroud,
worthless, except as momentary
decoration for future surfaces
noticed in the light of a new day
by other eyes, then, once again,
an annoyance to be wiped away.

Return to Spring 2014 Table of Contents