I read a poem about you today.
I was nearly naked before my audience,
scarcely dressed in death-spattered rags of pain,
speaking of your dying by suicide.
Grief gave me downcast eyes,
and a voice that stuttered and broke,
like a rusty old chain on a bike,
the wheels not turning as they should.
My eyes tried to become blind
to the listeners sorrowing faces,
and my head lowered to this page,
eyelids now a rampart for gallons of oily grief.
After one lecturer said I must achieve catharsis
before I speak of you. That my reading was destabilised
by my grief, better get some stabilisers then
for this battered broken old bike.
He said I must control the material,
not let the material control me,
those grief spattered rags I wore today,
I need to turn them into an elegant gown.
They want me to turn my mourning for you into beautiful art,
all my messy grief erased and transfigured into
silken threads of understanding, cloths of gold,
instead of this jumble sale of sadness.
One day I will come back as a ghost
and haunt him with my swirling drapes of mourning.
I will bury him with my heavy sorrowing
and will whisper wailing poems of you into his startled ears.
Ghosts do not have downcast eyes
or voices that crack,
death is pretty good at ridding us
of the troublesome past.
Louise is an MA student at the University of Leicester.