Sarcophagus

My grandfather burned fires when we were kids

down by the lake in a structure he made

from stacked stones, the ash

so soft and powdery, almost white.

There were burnt shards of birch

cracked and black as pieces

of a sarcophagus. You can’t witness your own death,

I remember someone saying in a seminar

while we were discussing a Celan poem

in which the speaker is digging

through the ash. It was a Thursday,

I drank a bottle of mineral water with Ronald,

sun on Holbeinstraße, sun on Morgensternstraße.