(there is) life after death.

the wild cherry tree
that stands
sentinel
below my kitchen window, had

until today,

lost all her leaves,

but two.

and all morning long
i kept watch
over her labour
as i rinsed the remains of

give-us-our-daily-bread

from plates, and
somewhere
between brewing tea
and folding laundry,

she let go of the last signs
of life,

and i stood with my head
bowed
in that solemn moment, but

she swayed in the wind
and said,

‘there’s no need for sadness,
i have been expecting this loss
and
it is good.’

as two leaves became
one
with all the others, and

gold

lay like love,
all over the
very ordinary
lawn.

— (there is) life after death.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

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.