ee cummings at midnight.

i am eve

paradise has found me

after midnight

in the unlined hours

of this day

consumed

by words

i am

consumed

falling

into

my

hands

there are poems

here

that breathe

that have

secrets

i hold them

a little bit longer

than i should

they are the soft skin

of my grandmother’s hands

they are

the happy sitting

around a christmas table

before we splintered

i hold

all of this

sweet fat

that fills

dripping down my chin

into the hollow

of my collar bones

i keep all my secrets

there

it satisfies

i am

for a moment

full

yet

it leaves me

empty

again

and

hungry

for

more

is what i crave

haven’t i always been

chasing glorious things

wildly

i wonder how

there are people

bored

with life

when there is so much to eat

on this page.

— ee cummings at midnight.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Zoltan Tasi.

A poem about losing yourself in the words of a poet in a darkly, quiet house, when all you hear is silence and all your hunger is filled with the richness of another’s words.

liezel

in finding the ones who will hold your heart.

look for the ones who lean into your story.

the ones who don’t shrink back from your pain.

the ones who can hear what you are not saying.

these, are your people.

love them fiercely.

— on finding the ones who will hold your heart.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph source Pixabay.

{a repost from a year ago}

swimming in deep water.

at the leisure centre

through the revolving doors

i walk

i wear my favourite jeans

the ones that lift

and support

there are parts of me

that need help

staying up

even after all these years of

strong

i come from a place only i know the scent of

i strip away

my coat

my shoes

i am on holy ground

a rain damp hat

knickers

too

everything that hides

me from the truth

of other bodies

them from me

me from you

i walk on feet

afraid

naked

almost

still

our eyes find each other

in all this wetness

and

we talk

we are strangers

in this great daring thing

together

we throw words to each other

like bright balls

catch and throw

catch and throw

your turn now

now my go

can i show

you

a little bit more of

me

when last has a stranger seen

the pale

of my skin

the dimples on my thighs

that grew with my pregnant

belly

but never left

twelve winters my hands have

felt them every night

just before i yield

reproving

as if my whole life is held

hostage

by the plumpness of my legs

that have carried me

bravely

through doors

and

far away from war

when we have finally shown

each other

enough

we undo the babysoft skin

of our courage

and

leave

revolving outward

into winter

later

quite by chance

we see each other in the

bread aisle

fingers carefully looking for

something sweet

our eyes do not meet

for more than

a second

they can’t

we are wearing far too many layers now.

— swimming in deep water.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Stefano Zocca.

how to draw water for someone who is thirsty.

it is entirely possible to love someone

without sending God’s name out first,

without reminding them

of how their hands have failed

to hold water from the well,

and

how you are the answer.

if you love them right,

they will eventually in God’s own time

unfurl

untwist

unlearn.

they will grow beyond your reach

and

the Light will find them.

if you love them right,

you won’t have to use

God’s name

once.

— how to draw water for someone who is thirsty.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Amal Ali.

my granny’s arms were soft and strong.

on the floor of my grandmother’s bathroom, there is a heater spitting blue gas flames into the damp air.

i am about three years old.

i am not afraid of winter howling outside, trying to claw its wet way in through warped window frames.

not yet.

my granny lifts me from the warm, fragrant water onto the cold edge of the roll top bath.

‘careful, ouma’s got you’.

small feet happily balanced, i am taller than her for a moment—my favourite part—my arms find the papery curve of her neck. i cling to her; my face inches away from all the softness that walks out of her mouth whenever she says my name.

she covers me in baby powder from my toes to my head—a grandmother’s talisman.

years later, whenever i am asked to describe my favourite smell, i say ‘baby powder and the smell of rain’.

in that small bathroom, her arms are still firm and strong, and i am still able to trust being lifted up and held safe.

— my granny’s arms were soft and strong | i was held.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Siddarth Bhogra.