I tried smiling at your funeral,
to avoid the choking weeds of grief.
no longer naked,
their limbs veiling then revealing
a diamond-clear sky,
stood beside the road leading
to the building where your family was mourning.
(When she asked me where you’d gone,
I told your daughter you had
become one with nature;
the lambent limbs of sunlight
& all those dignified trees,
you would like that answer.
I hope I wasn’t wrong.)
A vodka (double vodka) before
(& another) after
it was over.
Then, outside: cold bright sunlight,
dreaming of you dancing;
the prosody of your body,
your lips the colour of exoctic fruit,
as roses red & white
flowed from your hips,
replacing the weeds &
loosening their grip,
just long enough to bring
some small relief
from the reality of your absence.
Yet there was nothing except
the brutal eloquence
& the memories surfaced like
smoke from a furnace;
up from the chest & through the throat
to find a home behind the eyes..
When our hands have searched & found
the feelings we wish to drown;
when our dreams creep & crawl along the night
into the darkest corners where
the words become sounds unbound
from meaning & only vague feeling
we can finally become free.
There are words written by
two women I used to know
& shamefully I must admit
that I did not give
either the true gift of attention:
they knew me but I could not see
beyond the boundary of my affliction;
a selfish sadness
From Saint Christopher
to Blue John Stones,
they gave me everything
& with that grace, with those
prayers I drank & laughed
& let each future be
consumed by the past.
For you, the one I barely knew….
I hope that when you hit the water, your thoughts dispersed in a furious & glorious display, to finally free you from those bad dreams…
At 2 a.m in the morning the thoughts became starlings;
dispersing, flying & reforming again,
afraid a cage & the end of all freedom
lay hidden, patiently waiting.
Yet other nights they would fly above
evergreen trees, winding paths &
fresh clean streams.
Some nights the trees became
something they could never be, &
the water turned to perfect mirrors
flowing towards an endless sea.
the starlings are starved & dying,
motionless on blackened trees
above a burnt & barren ground
where there is nothing so beautiful as you,
or birds flying through