A Grave for Smoke and Mirrors

So I write this elegy not / for them; / but for the spaces left in the dust on my mantelpiece

An outlined transparent child sits before a hazy grey empty fireplace in a dark room.

Content warning: references to death and grief


When a person dies they linger

and you might have to water their lemon tree

or scrape them off pans

but how do you mourn something

that was always a ghost?

My inheritance is wet hair

and late-night texts that I trace with my thumb;

a desperate search for an epitaph that will satisfy

and let me wilt with dignity.


is a metallic taste


an earthy one

ironically rich but heavy, congealing once

it reaches the pit of you.

But I do not miss them, I do not grieve


it’s that green light that I wail for. It’s the loss of my mind

which saw things that I’m told just weren’t there.

So I write this elegy not

for them;

but for the spaces left in the dust on my mantelpiece,

for the tasteless wind that rattles my window, and for that

which still haunts the songs that once

consumed my heart entirely.

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