The Shape of Words
with the shape of words
that you forget to fill them.
They are empty shells
displayed on shore –
the water doesn’t reach them.
You say that I haunt you,
as if to flatter me.
But I am an echo,
the sound of the sea,
in your empty shells.
You start to need me
for your freedom.
You don’t get it.
You have to go there yourself.
Swim down to the shells
with things living in them.
Day Breaks Open
Because it’s a slow show
of the real show
in that crossing
from one light
like when you fly up
and the sun
all this time
and the light
and here we are
fumbling for candles
in forgotten drawers.
speeding jagged overhead,
bleeding last lights and I said,
you are no longer under this sky.
You have left this frame familiar
with its contours and its chemistry.
You have gone past the drip-led,
spoon-fed measures of clock time,
arrow to the eye with only
You have entered
where the running is hardest.
You said, I’ll not be staying long,
I have to prepare.
I get so confused by the trees acting funny.
Is mother coming soon? Is granny?
It is not easy to imagine your eyes,
at the last, unseeing.
It is not easy to imagine
your final breath.
I wanted to be there,
hold your hand as you left,
let you know one last time –
you are loved, you are loved, you are loved.
But like a star at sunrise,
you could not hold,
and instead, I blow you kisses
from the doorway of the mortuary.
And now, the days are spent
in strange tasks.
I go round the house,
expelling every trace of your illness,
and choose the clothes for your final dress –
beaten up cords, a bright blue shirt,
your fisherman’s jumper,
the cashmere shawl I brought you from India.
We choose a coffin from a catalogue,
and pile up your shoes,
fill out forms confirming the facts.
I go for long drives, wearing your hat.
And now, the days are spent
in long hours of sudden grief
that speak in primal tongue of what it is
to lose a father, piece by piece.
Then, just as suddenly, it switches to relief.
For if there’s a god,
then for sure we are sparks.
But we are also bones and tired flesh.
I sit in the garden
as blackbirds tremble their songs
through the morning.
You are alright.
You are travelling light
in that gracious mystery.
The cherry tree is exploding beautifully.
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