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Thursday Wordplay With Ray: Prose Poetry- "A Misunderstood Phenomenon"

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Death is not a cold thing.

Death, itself, is a snuffing of a candlelight. A pinch between two forefingers. A little heat and pain, then nothing but the smoking remains. Death is the collusion of fingers that turn oven knobs off, that cut the power in a room.

Death's cloak, however, is a cold thing:

It is the blanket wrapped around your shoulders, the one your mother made last winter. Fiery in spirit and red in color. She died of pancreatic cancer.

It is the truck seats of your father's Chevrolet that hasn't cranked in years, brittle in the fall air. He inhaled red-hot tar sticks until he choked. The blackened ceiling of the cab tells you so.

It is the stack of books you've removed from your coffee table and hidden under your bed. From your English teacher. Dead of Pneumonia at forty-seven. Four kids of her own. Nothing left for them. Homer, Hemingway, Baldwin, Rand.

It is the first love gone asunder. You still have the love letters they passed you after school, all cursive on creased, red-lined notebook paper. Smudges black and smeared against the bottoms of the pages. Bitterness of soot from the wall of her old furnace, but then came the cold. Even more cold years later. Murdered at 19, left to rot off Highway 22.

First the flame. Then the lack of. First the ebony fire of rage, then a compress of ice.

Death is not a cold thing.

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