This season I’m more aware of the fallout.
It’s the lacuna that grief brings.
Dust, ash and blood. Something more.
In your house I find letters marked out on dusty shelves,
names and places, little messages from the past,
codes for love and hatred, like hearts and arrows scarred into trees.
I sort through what remains of your old treasures,
remembering the shapes of all the things that you once held.
The hatbox, with its felt and feathers.
The shoebox full of money no-one can ever spend.
And here, two tiny circles,
the gold wedding ring you gave to me in the hospital before you died,
the hoop with its diamond. Brilliant, you once said.
Together, we belonged to the old world,
where what mattered was here and now.
You said all of us had to care for each other and I guess we forgot.
It’s only now, in the midst of fire smoke,
when the trees are ghosts and the air is a grey film of aftermath,
that I can see the green flames of the living world.
So now I’m sweeping the dust into piles and remembering,
even though it’s hard to breathe. I’m remembering still.
Stephanie Green writes short fiction, poetry, and travel essays published in various journals and a variety of anthologies and collections. Her most recent book is a collection of prose poems, Breathing in Stormy Seasons (Recent Work Press 2019). She also co-edited ‘Re-mapping Travel Writing’, Special Issue 56, Text Journal (October 2019), with Nigel Krauth and Stefan Jatschka.