The Grief Woman
We drove to the hospital and got his ashes from a woman
who talked to us in a conference room,
the box of him by her elbow.
We were forced to listen
to her spiel—moth-eaten words
about loss she had no business saying.
The woman sat too close. She smelled like talcum in an old cupboard.
When it was over, the brown box got pushed
to our side of the table.
For weeks, I wondered obsessively what the grief woman wanted back
when she offered us the gift of his ashes.
If I ever find her asleep, I will cut off her head and stuff it full of garlic.
by Wendy Noonan
Wendy Noonan’s poems have appeared in Permafrost, Diner, Bolts of Silk, Prick of the Spindle, Poor Claudia and Painted Bride. She lives in a house in Portland, OR with her son and friends, teaches community college writing, and enjoys watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns in her spare time.