Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Ashes

The house where she lived (or continues?)
grew cold after she passed.
I can only imagine the intense heat,
blinding, sweaty stinging in my eyes, of the crematory.
Now, I sit by the gas fireplace and
get a chill down my fragile spine
as the skin on my back heats slowly (I feel no pain).
I sit and bake and think of my mom.

The primer is still on the walls of the entryway;
her Martha Stewart attempt at interior design.
I stare blankly at the line where she stopped,
the blinding white juxtaposes the melon green,
staring back at me as if to say "This is when that
tumor debilitated my arm."

I can feel the cancer when I enter the door.
I can see it on the walls, and feel it in the air.
It stinks of emptiness, loneliness, death,
making it easier to weep.
The cold, white kitchen-tile stabs sharply
at the balls of my bare feet.
I feel dead all around me in this morgue
(and half expect to see frozen bodies:
eyes shut, skin cold and damp--like raw chicken)
in the drawers
where my father now keeps his knives.

The bedroom is the worst by far.
Walking in, I imagine the mortuary in MT
where I had to view my grandfather.
The carpet was a deep burgundy and
matched the backing of each pew.
Row after row, the pews (with all their hymnals and bibles)
gently led me toward the front.
I marched manditorily and tried to avert my eyes,
but his cold, dirty, blue skin froze me still.
His hands were swollen
from the embolism.
My father grabbed his hand quickly as if to
catch him from falling deeper into death.
He thurst this hand in my face, but I only
winced and stared at his suit: neatly pressed
and freshly smelling of mothballs and chloroform.

Nearing the waterbed where my parents slept,
and made love that one night I walked in,
I want to see my mother,
cold and pale.
Her urn distracts me.
The shrine my father has made scares me.
Her ashes are so close to that bed and
I feel nausea seeping through me and
it feels like the disease.

Our house feels haunted, but its not.
She cannot be a poltergeist, and phantom,
the urn is sealed tightly
and filled with ash.

1 comment:

Adrian Neibauer, EdD said...

This is one of my longer poems that I wrote trying to capture the juxtaposition of the coldness of death and the fire and ash with cremation. I am interested with differing views of after-death relationships. I'd love any feedback. Thanks!