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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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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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What Would You Say?

Driving to the beach the other day, you were in the car beside me and it made me happy. I was talking to you and you were smiling. I made up things that you would say and we laughed together. Without even turning to look at you, I could see you.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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