a slurry of ashes

The guardianship application says Mr…
Not Dr…

I could ask for it to be corrected.
But why bother?

He doesn’t remember he held that title.

Alcohol didn’t feed the flame of his intelligence.
It doused it,
leaving nothing but a pale slurry of ashes.


A quadrille for the dVerse “ashes to ashes” prompt: 44 words exactly, including the word ash or a variation.


Filed under poem

28 responses to “a slurry of ashes

  1. Titles don’t mean much when dignity’s gone. Few words, a lot of untold drama.

  2. Final stanza, brilliant. Funny how doctors drop the doctor and revert to mister/mrs/miss/ms once they become consultants.

  3. Oh, this is a bit of a punch in the gut. The loss of self. I know a lot of doctors (I am one!) and I know that for so many of them (particularly men…) that role is a quintessential part of their identity. To let that slip away shows a real loss of self. i found this really powerful – I guess for personal reasons, as a reader, as well as for the essential power of the poem.

    • Thank you Sarah.
      I shared a house with a nurse for a while, and one day I introduced her to someone as “this is Susan, she’s a nurse”. And she was absolutely furious and told me that she wasn’t a nurse, it was her job. I felt quite bad about it, but it also made me aware how much my own identity is tied to my profession (academic, physicist by training).
      Do you see being a doctor as a core part of your identity?

  4. You can’t get more pointed or much sadder, through addiction so much is lost. You need say no more than 44 words.

  5. So sad when alcohol takes over, and robs someone of something essential.

  6. Well done, Kate. I really like this.

  7. Sometimes we fall so short of our potential…. Drugs and alcohol are such thieves….

  8. sanaarizvi

    Beautifully poignant write, Kate!

  9. Titles cease to matter a long time before that. Still, it’s sad when all is ashes.

  10. M

    sometimes, 44 feels truncated. here, the spareness adds to the sense of loss. Killer title and finish. ~

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