Casket of a Stranger

My dog died over four years ago,

And her ashes rest above our fireplace:

A mantlepiece

Behind a photograph of her that was there when she was alive

And a paper figurine my little brother made

Of some random dog

That I think is horrid and ugly.

It doesn’t even have a muzzle - just a flat strip of paper with a penciled face.


I only take her box down in fits of rage

And only when no one else is home

Because it’s kind of funny how quickly that rage turns to fear

And I am almost afraid of how easy it is to become exactly that:


But what I fear most when I open that box,

That casket,

Is that I’m not alone.


I am afraid that someone who is not a stranger to me

Will see inside that box

And see my rage,

My fear of them, and of fear itself, and

Of death, and of how

All of a sudden

I will become a stranger to them.


I open this box,

Despite my shaking hands fumbling with the lid,

So I can dump my own ashes inside,

The crumbling parts of me

That beg for a drink of water, for life -

The thoughts that make me who I am

Sitting next to the thoughts of my dog that

Made her who she was.


I am afraid someone will find out

That a stranger in this household broke the glue seal on the lid,

That a stranger thinks my little brother’s sculpture is horrid and ugly,

That a stranger moves the photograph of an unstrange dog more than she should.


I do this so, when that box is safely tucked up and away,

Out of my unprovoked grasp,

I am not a stranger to those who know me

I do this

So I can touch death and drink fear,

So I can live on the memory of others

And kill my own.


This poem is about: 
My family


BN Chasemine

Wow 🥺

Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741