A poem: You were someone’s love.

they say that thousands have died

and thousands more

will leave

grannies and grandpas

mums and dads

someone’s baby

a sister, a brother

and friends, and friends, and friends

when will the river stop taking them to the sea

people with faces, lives

cut short

but God is in control, they say

and they know what they are doing

the people in charge

the people

know

they say

but i don’t know what to do with this grief

names!

i want names and faces!

what did you like to eat, what made you happy, did you like chocolate, or soup

were you a morning person, what made you afraid

did you know love, were you ever kissed until you were breathless

deliriously happy

God, i hope so

do you remember what it felt like

to have no air

the pinging, the noise

the ventilator

did you even have a chance, was there a bed for you

did you matter enough

to be taken to a place where they could fight for you

do you remember the faces of those who tried to save you

they grieve

dear God, they will carry this on their skin forever

there is a face who will remember you

stood in a kitchen in the middle of the week

an ordinary woman

i never knew you, but i choose

to hold you behind my eyes

in this poem, i have made a place for you

a small home

warm and soft

and

anyone who has lost you

may come here

and weep

i open a window, let the cold air in

i read a book with my son, teach him how to shape his words

the fine hairs on his arms touch my skin, little golden lights

i hold this

for a moment

i carry him again, his warm life

i hold this

when he grows tired of the work of chasing words

i open the cupboards

take out flour, cocoa, sugar, salt

i find just enough chocolate chips

just enough

like the widow about to make one last meal

but God

the recipe tells me to beat it all vigorously, but

i don’t

the world has been beaten enough

instead

i stir it gently, i speak to it, tell it how perfect it looks

in my right hand the spoon that was once a tree

folds the richness, this unexpected treat

rolled, flattened, baked

in the late afternoon with bitter coffee, we eat

dark crumbs fall

onto the clean floor

i don’t move

not even for one moment

do i think about cleaning them up

there’s too much sweet, too much life

right here

too much grief, your face

someone’s baby

someone’s love.

— you were someone’s love

© Liezel Graham 2021.

{Image my own}

I know that I am not alone in carrying grief.

I see numbers, and numbers, and numbers and what I want are names and faces and stories.

Today, I did ordinary things, like reading and baking and knitting and writing, but somehow I carry for a moment the loss of each person.

I read this week of people who were abandoned in a hospital in Yemen, but for one doctor who stood her ground and nearly broke in half… but God.

Help came, eventually, but loss is loss is loss, is hungry.

This poem is not polished and it won’t be.

Life is not polished. There is a profound ache that comes from losing the ones you love.

If that is you, my heart is with you.

x

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