Poems by Nancy Duci Denofio.

He is smiling - while he is dying
his hand crosses his chest - he
stares, opened mouth, barely breathing. . .
He is smiling as if to check
his pulse - a head full of hair
tie clipped in place by metal - but,
to his right two feet peek from under
smiling undertaker shrouding a dead man


like mummies
tied at their feet
wrapped in sheets
like munnies
but a suited man
counts all the bodies.
He shoves one in place
while florescent lights
on black and white -
on cold metal - on cold
skin - in a cold storage
room -
only the man in the black
suit - moves.
He ties the chin of the
dead under florescent
lights. . .
hair if any stick out of
white cotton sheets.
The man, still counts
the bodies
strapped and tied on
metal beds -

undertaker in the cold storage room with tens of dead people

corpses wrapped in sheets on metal carts

head of a dead person jaw tied with a piece of cloth


Its all a show,
a casket with flowers
on the top. . .
Its all a show
for mourners
who sign a death book.

Did you ever wonder
if its used again,
the casket is burned
a metal plate stays -
rolled into a crematorium
like an industrial plant
as material burns inside
a black hole..

So the flowers might
be saved to decorate
a church, or placed near
a grave marking the
date of birth and death -
but did you ever really
want to know - where
your loved ones go?

two hearses and a coffin in front of the entrance of the crematorium

coffins waiting in rows to be cremated

coffin in front of the door to the incinerator

When a child dies

Oh beautiful the child
inside a coffin of white
with flowers of white roses
bring beauty in soft light. . .
Oh child of the dead
you sit restlessly to wait
your turn to be let go -
to run and disenagrate.
Oh child of my love
not uncommon to bring
you home... to scatter
you around the playground
or in the lake where you
once learned to swim...
And, it is there forever you
shall roam.

child coffin with flowers next to adult coffins


I feel the heat of fire
red - orange - blue
Flames of death around
me, as the coffin is ignited
does the man make the sign
of the cross? Does he think
of you as a person, or a job
and nothing else...
You lived twenty years and
only in less than two short
hours, you have left the earth
and turned into ashes inside
an urn. . .

coffin burning inside the incinerater, beautiful flames

inside the incinerator coffin, spontaneous combustion

But they found your wristwatch
and your artificial leg...
And, if you married me, our
wedding ring would live.

crematoria worker finding the identification plate in the cremated ashes

metal items found in the cremated ashes

It was not ash inside the vase
but pieces of your bone
how thin you were -
flesh must not have taken
long - to burn.
When I unscrew the lid
to let you fly away
your plate - your last inscribed
name - with me it will stay...
at least - you were scattered
into the wind.
And, there you will stay.

two boxes with cremated ashes, what is left is bones

a son scattering the ashes of his mother to the winds