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