J.D. Smith: ‘A Cremation’

Fire steals from slow decay the frame
Of one who wished for us to claim
This small relief:

The words are said, the ashes flown.
What’s left? A weight, a shard of bone
Still sharp as grief.


J.D. Smith writes: “This poem came about in response to the death of a very beloved and quirky dog. Though she was already 10, she was a small dog and could have been expected to live longer. Her ashes, and those of her littermate, were interred with those of my parents.”

J.D. Smith has published six books of poetry, most recently the light verse collection Catalogs for Food Loversand he has received a Fellowship in Poetry from the United States National Endowment for the Arts. This poem is from The Killing Tree (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Smith’s first fiction collection, Transit, was published in December 2022. His other books include the essay collection Dowsing and Science. Smith works in Washington, DC, where he lives with his wife Paula Van Lare and their rescue animals. Twitter: @Smitroverse

Photo: “gone but remembered: dog ashes” by safoocat is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


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