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Selected Works

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

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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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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Key Change

You, c-shaped, ankles crossed under a piano stool,
suspended notes, pages the colour of weak tea, cases
buckled, black and stiff. Rememberings—the kitchen

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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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Losing Elizabeth

Today I had a call from the young woman who used to be my kind and loving daughter. The special ring tone that I reserve for her calls punches me hard in the middle of my chest. I take a deep breath and press ‘accept’. It’s what I am trying to do—accept her for who she is now.
       “Hi Mum!”
       “Hello Darling, how are you today?”
       “Fine. Can I borrow your car? I need to pick up my stuff from a friend’s place.”

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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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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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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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