I don't know what your own is like
But my grief is chaos.
It is too many sleepless nights
And the wild horses of anxiety
Rearing up out of nowhere.
It is not being able to take in all of the truth at once
But having to accept it fragment by fragment
Like assembling a puzzle.
(My grandfather used to do jigsaws backwards
So the part without a picture was facing him.
When it was complete he would glue it to a wooden board and hang it up to look at.
He had no money for paintings
But he also had no heart for bare walls)
I feel as though if I took out my heart to examine it,
It would be a small, intricate wooden thing I had to fix
And that would be quiet work
With carpenters tools
On the porch at sunset
While the starlings were calling to each other and moving in arcs above me,
With their unknown secrets.
I would finally have time
To focus only on what this feels like, and how to begin to mend it.
(All the women in my family can sew.
In our dining room, we have a dressmakers mannequin,
Waiting always for a dress to bloom into existence around her.
With just enough lace to make her look decadent and grand.)
There are all these hours
In any given day
But they don't seem to have space in them.
Not enough for me to unfold the map of my emotions
And chart the territory
And the kingdoms,
With a compass and the certain knowledge
Of my own constellations
To guide me home
(Everytime we ever went anywhere together,
One of us would be sure to say
"Home James and don't spare the horses".
Before we came back.
Even if we had only gone as far as next door.
I don't know why.)
I keep getting in my own way.
I am busy feeling ill-equipped.
I am busy not crying,
And not journalling,
And not opening the cupboard door of my mind
To see what falls out.
I am busy feeling nothing and everything;
With wanting to hide.
I think what it all boils down to
Is I need more hot sweet tea for shock.
As well as more sleep and open air,
And more wrap-me-up blankets of gentleness
To hold me safe in.
I need to play Vera Lynn songs.
To picture myself in an underground train station
Full of the people who matter,
While the air raid sirens blare.
Knowing that what is happening
Is never greater than all that love and camaraderie we share.
Never more powerful than the promise of tomorrow.
(When I thought I couldn't keep myself together,
Someone made me something, and I watched her do it.
Even though she was in Australia and I am in England.
She took a pen, and drew me a bird.
A quirky one with bright eyes
And an endearing expression.
He is a cheerful little fellow
With a speech bubble coming out of his mouth
Which reads "Everything will be ok".
And whether you believe in the Reassuring Bird or not,
He happens to be right. )
I think I need to count grains of sand,
Or abacus beads,
And leap into novels.
Anything that brings me stillness.
And I need to say out loud
That when you have to go through this
As you have and will and maybe are,
I am so sorry, and I wish that I could hold you.
Everyone who loves you is with you in the silences.
I hope you find what comforts you
And that you wake everyday to discover
The world has bestowed on you a kindness
Whilst you slept.