mask.

i undresed my anger

and found

grief

hiding,

naked and neglected.

— mask.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

…and it’s important to add, that when I speak, or write of grief, that I personally include, loss. And that is what I am trying to convey here, that loss — especially in childhood when one doesn’t always know how to process the incredibly strong emotions that come with that helpless feeling of having things/people/stability/security ripped from you — can lead to a myriad of masks.

when joy, was a dead bird within my chest.

i woke up

this morning

with joy, a

dead

bird

within my chest.

she just lay there.

curled up,

a weight of

dead

feathers;

throat silent.

and i wanted to

mourn her,

rail angrily against the

poisonous

seeds

that had stolen her.

cancer.

depression.

death.

fear.

anger.

loneliness.

foreignness.

distance.

and all the

dark things

that go

bump

in the night.

but my words

were

gone.

stolen.

so i sat with her,

cradled

within my hands

gently whispering

all that i had left,

i am sorry.

i am sorry.

and slowly,

the liquid morning

light

fell

just so

onto her face,

and elgar’s

enigma

covered her body

with a gentle

blanket of cello,

and the

cool

autumn breeze

from the open window

ruffled

the fine down

on her breast,

and she remembered.

all the good things,

all the beautiful things,

all the hopeful things,

as the warm tea from

faraway places

warmed her throat

until

her voice

returned.

and she shook

her feathers

and inclined

her head

as she ate

hope

amongst the thorns.

—when joy, was a dead bird within my chest.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

plant me with a tree.

when i have

lived

enough, and

i have

quietly

stepped

into

the next

room, don’t

mourn

me

with stone

or

marble

markers,

engraved

with

words

that really

don’t

say much

about

me.

she was sent, and

she was called

back.

no.

turn me into

ashes

and

plant me, with

a tree.

let me be

dust.

unto.

dust, beneath

a cathedral

of

green.

and,

when

summer

arrives

once again,

and it will.

come

and

sit

in the shade

of my love, and

remember

me.

— plant me with a tree.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

therapy.

in a field

on the farm

that i like

to walk past,

there is a tree.

once upon a time,

i am sure,

she must have stood

tall

and

proud, a

useful

tree

indeed, a

normal

tree, a

tree

that

when people

saw her

they

would say,

in their very knowledgeable

way,

for they know all about

how

to

be

a

proper

tree,

now there is a beautiful tree.

but,

not anymore.

now,

she is gnarled

and

bent

from

her

waist

down

to

the

ground.

a naked

act of worship

to the soil,

that

now holds her

grounded

in root

and

branch.

unable

to

aim

for

the light,

she

kisses

the

earth.

and people walk past her

in private conversation

with each other

and

they

do not notice

how

her

lowest

branches

have

shaped

a safe space

for

the lambs, and

how the birds still

converse

with each other

in her

misshapen

crown,

whilst

they sing

sky

songs

to

her

about

clouds

and

the sun

and what it means to

be

alive, and

not once

do they tell her

to

go

back

to

who

she

was, to

unbend herself

from her

melancholy

and

the thing that caused her

to

fold in

on herself, because

to them

she is

still

a tree.

— therapy.

© Liezel Graham 2018.