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Selected Works

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

Cherub

I used to be a selfish man.
             Never cruel or avaricious; merely unaccustomed to living outside myself. That all changed the moment you arrived. There you were, the very best of me, a tiny bundle full of promise and possibilities.

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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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If

A woman I barely know says she understands what I’m going through; she can imagine the horror of losing a daughter.
‘I couldn’t go on with life if I lost mine,’ she says.
I wish that ‘if’ was mine.
The woman’s ‘if’ means she cannot understand.

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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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A Different Grief

I have no right to this grief. That is what I’ve been told over and over again by those of my family who are the most qualified to know. After all I was only two when she died. I have no memory of her face, her voice, the warmth of her hands. There are no lingering memories of regretful goodbyes playing on the fringes of my mind. I don’t see her in the crowd and run to her side only to offer tearful and embarrassed apologies to a woman who, on closer inspection, could never be her at all. I don’t close my eyes on a flood of images that centre on hospital beds, beeping machines or hands grown cold, with any sense of desperation. I didn’t, full of pain, wish it to be over only to feel that I would do anything to have her back again later.

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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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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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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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Are You There?

If I should pick and unpick my way across
torn dreams spun tight over long years,
if I collect the fragments and bones and artefacts
and examine them diligently
for signs and omens,
is it enough?
Shall I find you again?

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