If I allowed curiosity and love to seep through the wounds, I wouldn’t be here now at the page trying to make sense of it.
A black girl walks through the meadow, enters the dark woods and forfeits her life. And I can’t but think if she was white …
Trust. Always difficult for me to hold, like light on burnt leaves. Like the coming of winter any day now.
The race talk, an accumulation of cautionary tales told through time, she, with earth in her voice, filled the void of rage with what was right for her soul. Joy.
After Ada Limon
On the black wet branches of a sycamore, grief waits for me with the last few clinging burnt umber leaves.
Rain, black blankets, wind-whipped worm into the scarred wounds of me. Her great absence present.
Waiting for the shift, in fall, like stinging nettles’ persistence call, being still is vulnerable and exposed.
Yet suffering is all around when I choose to be part of the world. Privilege I acknowledge and push against.
All this will pass. Time playing through space. Illinear like this journey of grief on the black wet branches of a sycamore tree.
As I pull into the roadside drenched in memory, I practice breathing. Cycle through the minutes trying to gain ground.
She was silence behind her smiles. Behind her ample flesh. I burnt down our bonds because she dropped before her time.
I’ve too much fire to ever accept her truth. Too much sense to feel the moon held her fullness.
Late into the night standing by the window, she waited for my return. Without fail. I took her love and joy without a backward glance.
I am dark. Too dark. But meaning comes with the light. My own light, learning to shine from the inside out.
I wish she had her chance. I take her picture sitting in the grass amongst the trees and seal it into memory.
The earth she could not give me. She didn’t know how as she laughed her soul into existence.
I am red. All of it. And not at all. But with eyes wide open, body claiming space daily, I listen to her song and bathe in the moonlight.
grief shedding like leaves
appreciating the magic and sorrow
as it should be –
surrender and transform
In case you’re a kid who doesn’t have the right equipment,
and just in case you’re growing too big for your bones and
have to walk around in second-feet shoes,
take a moment to nestle in the autumn chilled grass,
lean in close, breathe in the slack conker smell and squint.
You might not have a magnifying glass but you can still
recognise kin. Ladybirds, beetles and ants.
Creatures of the earth. Overlooked and taken for granted,
caretake as you learn to nurture yourself into bloom.
The bride stays calm in her three tiered dress.
Pretending not to notice the munchkins
slicing into the her bodice or the gingerbread man
chewing on her trailing lace.
With each full toothed grin, she hopes she dislodges
the sharp prongs of scorn cutting
into her skull from her tiara.
Hopes she flicks off the droplets
of bloods staining her veil.
With the dark cloud gathering
and the guests running for cover
she stays at the altar, mouthing her vows
to love, cherish and grieve the little girl lost
and wasted on marzipan and sugared icing.
In a gondola steered by a bunny with pink
ears and white feathered wings, I rest.
Serene and floating upon a turquoise body of water,
I keep my eyes closed, keeping out the light,
keeping out thoughts of failure.
Let me just drift into the unknown
where there may be green shoots to suck
and damp grass to tinkle my toes.
Who knows, what’s around the bend.
All I know; I’m wearing my favourite bow,
my rubber giraffe is sinking like a ship
along with my rocking horse of dreams.
An oversized, blue fluffy bunny
is the things of nightmares.
Garish, stalks the playroom floor.
I hide behind the enlarged
building blocks, hands over ears and heart
busting my chest. Afraid
the bunny will hear me, find me
and beat me. Beat me for being me.
I didn’t do anything wrong.
I fear this fear. Not knowing
where the next blow from the taloned
paw is coming from and why.
Not knowing if my existence
is an affront or punishable offence.
I dream of other floors
with soft cushioned landings
blankets and warmth, like
under autumn leaves breathing orange.
I feel like I’m holding a million little Sherees
in my arms and each one with a need to be fulfilled.
I’m lost, not knowing what to do for the best,
who to listen to the first. All are fragile and in pain.
They’re little me’s at different times in my life.
The little puffy afro-ed toddler.
The dreadlocked housewife.
The first school bunchies kind of kid.
The jet black straight haired newborn.
The baldy divorcee.
Mini Sherees all making noise
vying for my attention, craving love
wanting to be seen and healed.
I’m afraid one will slip through my fingers,
or I’ll break the neck of another.
It’s a huge responsibility to carry myself
alone. And not allowing one single Sheree in.