I hate this small box. The woman handles it like a box of cereal or frozen peas. She tips it to show how well it’s wrapped. I don’t scream.
She keeps referring to the remains, the decedent. Your full name in black type across an official document. I sign the bottom.
Your lover puts the rectangular box on the back floorboard. You’re a package, not a passenger.
Remembering. From outside the crematorium looked like a rundown auto shop. Inside: Shiny machines, concrete floor, one milky window.
I know it was you inside the cardboard coffin because your name and identification number were scribbled in blue marker across the lid.
No. When asked if we wanted to see you one last time. No. After three days on the bed at home beneath rose petals and prayers. No. After three more days refrigerated for the holiday weekend.
A guy pushing with his shoulder to get the box moving down the conveyor. He is rough. As if he’s forgotten you’re inside.
It will take perhaps forty-five minutes. We are welcome to stay. The man presses the silver button as we flee.
It’s a furnace, I remind myself. Creating lovely pain.
Loud. Like heavy equipment tearing up pocked pavement. Laying down new road.