White Ash by Carl Sandburg
THERE is a woman on Michigan Boulevard keeps a parrot and goldfish and two white mice.
She used to keep a houseful of girls in kimonos and three pushbuttons on the front door.
Now she is alone with a parrot and goldfish and two white mice … but these are some of her thoughts:
The love of a soldier on furlough or a sailor on shore leave burns with a bonfire red and saffron.
The love of an emigrant workman whose wife is a thousand miles away burns with a blue smoke.
The love of a young man whose sweetheart married an older man for money burns with a sputtering uncertain flame.
And there is a love … one in a thousand … burns clean and is gone leaving a white ash.…
And this is a thought she never explains to the parrot and goldfish and two white mice.