Ash, a poem written by Michael Ball at



written by: Michael Ball



I knew what to do when her ashes came.
My mother does not live on my key ring.
She does not live, except in artifacts —
in my mind, in photos, and one steel disk.

Hail, Mnemosyne, goddess of memory.
Gravid in its super-thick plastic sleeve.
Guide me to grub among ashes to find
the steel ID that survived the retort.

Now Wanda is often in my pocket.
Lighter and longer than she carried me.
The stamped steel circle reads VISTA VERDE.
The post-dead’s badge — 14510.

Muse, then rub the stamped crematory coin.
In its fine grooves, the gray specks bear witness
to scant remains from burnt body and bone.
Mother proved mortal, now become mortar.

When I unlock my back door, the coin falls
over both my head line and my heart line.
Wanda is not there, yet here she is felt.
How receptive we can be to our ghosts.

The ashes were not she, nor is the coin—
each the same as a locket’s wee photo.
We worship our beloved dead as we may
and such remnants can provide strange comfort.

Michael Ball

Michael Ball

Michael Ball scrambled from daily and weekly papers through business and technical pubs. Satisfaction and feeling like a writer came through blogging and podcasting, mostly political. Born in OK and raised in rural WV, he became more citified in Manhattan and Boston. He joined the Hyde Park Poets Workshop two years ago, and will never again write a manual or help system. He has moderate success placing poems in print and online.
Michael Ball

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