Border Lines

From London to Berwick: Culture shock? Oh, yes!

Death is dry

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I wrote this poem following the recent death of my mum. It somehow seems appropriate to share it today when people are remembering those who have died in conflict. My mum remembered World War 2 well: her school was bombed and she was evacuated. We spend our lives trying to make sense of death and yet it always seems to take us by surprise wherever, whenever and however it comes.

Death is dry.
Dry bones sliding
like unruly stacks of kindling.
And light.
Death is light as light itself.
Death is a look of surprise and
a long pause where no breath
is breathed
and a sudden gasped
inhalation.

Death is unfinished business
a glass half empty.
A sip through a straw
that makes you
cough the cough you don’t have the strength
to cough.

Death is a puff of air
released when your body
is moved.
Death is men in dark coats
at 3am
zipping you into a bag on a low stretcher.
Death is your purpled hand
disappearing
beneath the zip.

Death is a puff of dust
from an urn perched in
a hole in the ground.
A puff of you
free from bones and breath and air
and zips.

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Border Lines

From London to Berwick: Culture shock? Oh, yes!

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