Ash & Embers embodies the inherent messiness of life's journey, sorting detritus from treasures, identifying and naming memory, finding categories that reflect life's winding pathways and its treacherous footing. Taking his various roles--son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, teacher, citizen, believer, writer, and reader--as narrative stances, Zoller considers the details of life and its larger forces. Thematically complex, Ash & Embers accepts that the journey is translated through the often difficult tool of language; thus, it embraces the tension that language is inadequate, alien, and, paradoxically, a tool for recognition and understanding. In Zoller's poems how we speak about life--as physical passage, as spiritual pilgrimage, as imagined patterns, as emotional canvas, as interwoven narrative strands, and as social construct--all these voices meet in one conversation. Between “Photographs” that begins the book and “Hard Copy” that brings it to a close we find everything from first impressions to “Second Knowings,” from notes on the poems of Mao and Seamus Heaney to prayers to the God of time, eternity, and love.