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Selected Works

The following is a hand-picked collection of works from all of our volumes of Grieve.

The Art of Losing

I do not master well this art of losing—
last year our Dad, and now the house is sold.
Instinctively, I grieve for all that’s passing.

So many homes we’ve had—we’re used to moving—
yet strange to see Mum taking charge alone.
We pack and sweep, distracted from our losing.

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Tears and the Sea

I found a lump. Sounds innocuous when you say it like that. It was about the size of a pea. Really, it was. Small. Hard. Painless. I was sitting watching telly with my boys and my hand was resting under my armpit as I massaged my sore muscles from the day’s swim.

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Waiting Beside You

All I can do is sit by your bed and watch you die.
I don’t yet know that what I am feeding you
will become your last meal on this earth.

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An Explanation

You were too shy. You were reluctant to face the jagged branches, the sharp-winged birds.

‘A little mouse,’ your father said as we stood before the screen. It held six photographs of you. Six stills.

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A Story About Love

She’s fighting with herself as she leaves his room, trying not to fall apart before she reaches the nurse’s station; all along the corridor gathering herself up, as if the foyer was a hurdle she had to leap—every day asking herself the same question: how can she possibly leave him here?

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The Shape of Life

I am always, it seems, the corner in a solid circle; square peg, round hole.
Soft powdery warmth, the fold and roll of velvet skin, the dome of a feathered fragile head; muslin wraps a bundle of cherished creation.
I ache for the unattainable; a slow hot drip.

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For My Mother

My brother rang me in Bangkok
where I had placed a prayer wheel
on the altar of the golden Buddha

lit incense in that foreign space
hoping for some efficacy
and any gamble worth a try

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Agnes and Pa

Agnes’ pa used to embarrass her. Even in ICU he embarrassed her—the scent of unwashed hair and old cigarettes, the tatts from his navy days and the answers she had to give the organ donation nurses. They couldn’t use his organs in the end but she kept his handprints and locks of hair in a sealed envelope, a tangible memory in shades of black, white and grey.

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Earth Oven

Preparation begins by heating the stones.
Next, lay the food down
cover with earth
and leave for many hours.

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