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Cleansings
by Michael R. Burch

Walk here among the walking specters. Learn
inhuman patience. Flesh can only cleave
to bone this tightly if their hearts believe
that God is good, and never mind the Urn.

A lentil and a bean might plump their skin
with mothers’ bounteous, soft-dimpled fat
(and call it “health”), might quickly build again
the muscles of dead menfolk. Dream, like that,

and call it courage. Cry, and be deceived,
and so endure. Or burn, made wholly pure.
One’s prayer is answered,
“god” thus unbelieved.

No holy pyre this—death’s hissing chamber.
Two thousand years ago—a starlit manger,
weird Herod’s cries for vengeance on the meek,
the children slaughtered. Fear, when angels speak,

the prophesies of man.
Do what you "can,"
not what you must, or should.
They call you “good,”

dead eyes devoid of tears; how shall they speak
except in blankness? Fear, then, how they weep.
Escape the gentle clutching stickfolk. Creep
away in shame to retch and flush away

your ***** from their ashes. Learn to pray.

Keywords/Tags: Holocaust, poem, ashes, crematorium, chimney, smoke, gas, chamber, Auschwitz, starvation, walking dead, mass graves, genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, antisemitism, fascism, cruelty, brutality, inhumanity, horror
Seema Sep 2017
Fire consumes their flesh and cleans their bones
Laying substantially in ashes, gone up in smokes
Fractured skulls, dislocated jaws from many homes
The air is so odoress dense, it makes me choke

Filled in silence, an old crematorium ground
Just burning smell of carcass, melting meat down
Only the caretakers live about and around
Strangely no night birds nor creatures roam to sound

What am I doing here, all by myself this night?
Where is my home, my own who left me offsight?
Why I cannot feel my body? Why am I afraid of light?
Why this mist surrounds me? Why it doesn't feel alright?

I am guessing, I'm dead and being burnt down
What was that, I died off?, that I can not remember now
So what do I do to manifest my leagues around
Laying under ashes, I know, that's my skeletal on the ground.*


©sim
An experience on my first visit to an active cremation ground.
Pauline Morris Mar 2016
My birth certificate has expired
It's time to burn me in the fire
Send me off to the crematorium
My life is a moratorium
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
At the Crematorium
white smoke curls
and coils
and drifts
- a wisp
of your hair.

Blood-red rich roses
thrive in bone rich soil
velvety smooth
and secret-scented
- the inside skin
of your wrists.


          
© M.L.Emmett
A version first published in New Poets 14: Snatching Time

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