Cremation – John Delaney

We watched the pine box enter,

the door close,

and then the jets of the burners roared.

‘Through hell he goes,’

I thought. And how we stood

together silently,

hearing the flames consume

so violently

the stoic man that was our dad.

It wouldn’t take long

to reduce his 90 years to ashes,

everything he held right or wrong.

I like to think we felt a modicum of warmth disperse

across the cold, unloving universe.

In 2016, I moved out to Port Townsend, WA, after retiring as curator of historic maps at Princeton University. In 2017, I published Waypoints, a collection of place poems. Twenty Questions, a chapbook, appeared in 2019, and Delicate Arch, poems and photographs of national parks and monuments, came out earlier this year.

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