Fall 2008, Volume 5

Poetry by Natasha Wang

The Crematorium Attendant

I am a dusty moonlight baker
covered in the flour of hair and bone.

My cakes are sandalwood, simple pine.
Inside is a batter of flesh

frosted with a boy's best navy suit
a wedding dress of Queen Anne's lace.

This oven nudges them all from sleep
browns them in flames

spiced with the robustness of fat
pungent extract of death.

I heave the box onto the trolley.
It slides with a gentle push.

I listen for the rat-tat-tat
of gold fillings shaking loose.

For a moment they are gloriously alive again—
their once rigid bodies curling

like babies bunching fists in the heat
who punch the cedar pen naughtily

who cry for mothers with sapless eyes
before dissolving in smoke.

I carry them home with me
like a dusting of sugar behind the ear.

My wife fills the bath and I soak
until the water is the color of milk.

BIO:  Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Natasha Wang has been writing poetry since early childhood. At the University of Texas at Austin, she won the James A. Michener Undergraduate Scholarship in Creative Writing, and holds a BS in Advertising Copywriting and a BA in French. Natasha attended the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in 2008. She has worked as a publicist for six years.