Ashes, Ashes by Jayne Moore Waldrop

Wonder if they’ll believe 
our stories of fluttering, 
full-on yellow ash trees
against unbroken autumn sky. 
Words alone can’t express
the jolt of pure color  
before woods faded to gray.

Another generation 
told of ancient chestnuts 
lording over the mountains 
before blight erased them 
from landscape and memory.  
First hand they witnessed
the beauty, grieved the loss.

Perhaps we should paint 
noble portraits of our trees
in the prime of their lives
to hang over our mantles 
like beloved ancestors, 
reminding us what was lost
when ashes faded to gray.

Jayne Moore Waldrop is the author of Retracing My Steps (Finishing Line Press 2019), a finalist in the New Women's Voices Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared in Appalachian Review, New Limestone Review, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, and Still: The Journal. Waldrop is an attorney, former book columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, and a grant recipient from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky. Her collection of short stories, Drowned Town is forthcoming from Fireside Industries/University Press of Kentucky in 2021.

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