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Wednesday
August 11, 1999

   in    one    door    and    out    the    other

Here they are sliding my mother into the oven,
basement crematory, diamond plate door, red
& green buttons, ignition, cremation, and afterburner,
3 phases to the fire. Forehead cool from cold storage,
snug in white sheet chrysalis, contour of a sarcophagus,
they slide her in on a cardboard pallet, placing dowels
in her path, rollers like the logs used to move stone slabs
building the pyramids, the fibers of wood, cardboard, and
fabric to blend with her blood & bone & whatever energy
is left two days after death.

Do I want to stay for all or part of the 5-hour burn?
they ask. It's too warm in here already--nervous, I guess--
and they haven't pushed the button yet. I'm sweating
when the door slides shut tight as a vault. I shake hands,
express thanks, and leave thinking that's that.

Minnesota Cremation Society | Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis MN

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