For today's prompt, I want you to pick a color, make that the title of your poem, and write a poem that is inspired by that color
At the crematory
on a field trip one Halloween
we put our hands in the metal tray
below where fire once was.
Our teacher said, Touch the ashes.
And we did, not really believing
we were feeling what was
once a human, now gone
and given back to his family
in the form of ash. One boy
kept asking, Are these really someone’s
ashes? And the teacher said,
Not one person, but many.
The ash left in the long metal tray
we couldn’t stop exploring.
We were teenagers and death
was for the old, even then,
we didn’t realize that in ten years,
we’d be minus one, the boy
in the group who kept asking
would not grow up, leukemia
at twenty-six, another
body for the crematory, for the mortician
who said, I try to make sure
they are smiling.
As I listened to stories about a wedding
ring clinking into the tray
after they couldn’t remove it
from a woman's hand, my fingers
still digging in ash
touched a hard stone, someone’s charm
dropped into the ashes, I thought,
gave it to my teacher to ask
what I had found. I remember
he smiled, said to the class,
Notice how Kelli has found a piece of bone.
Ah, the normal childhood growing up in the suburbs of Seattle... Yes, my fascination with death continued on with help from my high school DECA teacher who would take us to the crematorium each Halloween on a field trip. I'm wondering if this would even be allowed these days.
Happy crazy public schools. Gotta love 'em.
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