Eating my Grandmother: An archaeology of Grief

In case
death was a sham
they tied a string
onto a cooling foot
and watched or listened
as the body curled
shifting with each
subsequent decay
ringing into night
such a wasteful
loss of life.

In case
he was to wake alone
they gathered wives
and little girls
and buried them
at his side.

So recent
they told me,
gesturing across the land
this island, Tanna
with its whispered secrets

Her fear of the macabre
began with death
with fright at what would come
if death was sleep.
On waking, scratches found
clothes torn
fingers bitten back
and her
opening her disembodied eyes
or consciousness
(because the flesh is gone)
still she finds herself
divided here
and part of her
warm coffin
soft as the first pulse of life
dark as a tomb
she scratches me in the night
at two AM
restless in her womb.

I wake
and pace
and place a hand
here on my chest
the hot acidity of her death
burning for her sake.

Perhaps I should have left her
in her urn
where she would look up
to a plastic sky
is this heaven?
Or sleep?
Or hell?

flesh tomb
she tears and burns
from tongue to liver
through all my organs
that have swallowed her.

Collage above by Hannah Gartside. 

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