Poetry: Grief is you

Grief is you
Realising you have their
Mannerisms, gestures
That you are the legacy

It’s the unsustainable pressure

It’s punching the mattress
Repeatedly
At 3:15 on a Tuesday afternoon

It’s the throwing away
Of old medicines
And foods you thought
They might actually eat

Grief is the guilt
All the things I did wrong
Didn’t even consider
Could have done differently
Could have said
Should never have said
Would have said
If I’d known

Grief is the coalescing
Of all the deaths
Into one long chain
Of relentless mourning

It’s living through every
Funeral you’ve ever been to
At the next one

It’s Mozart on a sunny
January morning
Foxes darting between
Headstones
Green parakeets shrieking
Across snow-threatening skies

Grief is love
Apparently
It’s all the things
It’s just a bit
Meh

It’s people so nervous
About upsetting someone
That they never say anything
And just make them feel more
Alone with it

It’s people saying the wrong thing
And making them feel
Even more alone with it

It’s something the Prime Minister
Denies when it suits him

It’s also Mariupol
Bucha and Irpin

It’s my black cat
Wrapped in towels
Under sedation
It’s the hardest decision

Grief is unrestrained
It’s 4 months wait
For bereavement counselling
With a volunteer
Calling from a witheld number

It’s a fracture that isn’t ever
Going to heal itself

It’s the making
And the absolute breaking
Of many millions of people
Each year

It’s the death of you
And the terror in the heart
After what I’ve now seen
And will never un-see
What I’ve now felt
And will never un-feel

It’s the fact that you
Are also dying
Of the very same thing
Because why not

It’s the incurable
The untreatable
The unbelievable
And the unbeatable

It’s the emptiness
Of the place
Where they used to spend
So much of their time
Where they sat
Stood and lay down

A pair of shoes left
Just beside the door
The shaver under the sink
The cap on the hook
The fishing rods
In the garage

The fingerprint
On the Rolling Stones CD
That is now digitised
In FLAC

It’s her old shirts
That seem to hold
Her perfume
15 years later

Grief is unbelievable
Weather
It’s the grey and leaden

Nurses whose names
You never remembered
But faces and information
Never ever forgotten

It’s memories that attack
Like arrows from the best medieval archers
Over a fortress that really
Wasn’t going to last very long
If I’m honest

It’s the return of things
You thought were extinct
The thylacine
And the great auk

People you never knew
Could ever cry in public

It’s grief
And it’s too many things
To mention

ยฉ Daniel James Greenwood 2022