Friday, 11 May 2018

Diamond Dogs (this poem contains ashes)

 "Diamond Dogs" by Jane Bloomfield

Dad’s ashes linger in the lost property box
of memories and bone fragments
a small wooden one
under the bed

An average sized man weighs: 2.72 kilograms when cremated
I googled it
Six pounds Imperial (the weight of my firstborn daughter)

Dad sometimes joked about going out in an old-pine-box
But he ended up in faux walnut veneer
Under a giddy spray of red and white roses
Addam’s Family ivy crept over its silver plastic handles

Two pm sun filtered through stained glass saints
In that tiny wooden church in Leigh and winked upon
Michael, Son of the Archdeacon of Hawkes Bay lying there

I always wondered if you get bits of coffin
with your dearly departed’s ashes?

You don’t

The materials used in those vessels to-the-other-side
are designed to be totally zapped by the heat
Cremation ovens spike to
926.666 degrees Celcius –
It’s a fucking inferno in there

But you’re still left with sticks of burnished bones
I know, I saw the photo on an undertaker’s website
It offered so much helpful information
Things you never knew you wanted to know

Like: post cremation “The bone fragments are further crushed”
Once they’ve gone through a magnetic scanner to remove metal implants
gold fillings, screws
I’d discovered modern day grave robbing
Or do they give those cadaver-jewells back?

There was an ad for Life Gem Diamonds
How much do I need? The top FAQ
“Just 200 grams of cremated remains,
to extract enough carbon to make multiple diamonds …
typically all the diamonds that a family wants.”

Marilyn M would turn in her grave

I never read the comments section
But there were so many satisfied customers
Take Jacqueline, Linda and Sam
Who in brackets
Were not wife, or partner, or husband
of Jerry, Midnight and Champ

The most popular gems, it appeared
were dead-doggy-diamonds
Diamond dogs

Dad was a cat man
A naval man
A modest man

Most family members want to scatter his ashes at sea
His partner wants to out in the glass bottomed boat

I have visions of his pebbles floating underneath us
As we glide over the reef
And hungry snapper from the nearby marine reserve
nibbling him then spitting him out
dry calcium phosphates, sodium and potassium hardly a meal

But for now
he remains



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