A writer friend, Tom Piccirilli, passed away this morning after a valiant battle with brain cancer.  If you don’t know his work, buy a couple of his books.  Take your pick; they’re all equally good.

After I heard the news, I re-read some of his poetry.  I came across one poem in particular, from This Cape is Red Because I’ve Been Bleeding, that struck a cord on this of all days.  I thought I’d share it with you, because it’s short and in Tom’s own words.

Cremation Reformation — Tom Piccirilli

Perhaps the crematorium isn’t the best place

to mull over your melancholy, make a chart

of your misgivings, take account of all

your secret mischief — the bodies of neighbors

and pets fill the black air with ash,

and the taste is never completely washed away.

Smoke rises but the temperature drops.

Someday, I’ll be sent on in there,

and they’ll hand a tiny box of powder to my wife,

but I want her to put me on through again,

and again, and again, until there’s nothing left

but air, and I’ll drift over town and get into everyone’s

clothes and hair, and work my way into every

crack and fissure of skin and eyelid, all your mouths,

your nostrils, breathed into every lung, until

you all tap your temples with freshly sharpened pencils,

acting for a moment, exactly the same,

as each and every one of you writes

with a flourish and grin


for absolutely no reason you can name.

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