Academic journal article Antipodes

Remembrance Day

Academic journal article Antipodes

Remembrance Day

Article excerpt

today it's been a year

since you died and i will burn

your funeral program,

along with the letter of thanks

your parents wrote. i will burn

these with rosemary, to remember

this letting go. i will burn these

on the verandah, in a baking tray

because, despite this morning's rain,

there is still a total fire ban.

i'd planned to do it now, but

the neighbors are in their driveway

and it would be a little weird

to explain what i'm doing.

so instead i'm writing this feeling

more slapstick than solemn. i think

you'd be laughing. then i burn you.

And by some quirk of paper writhing

in the heat the last thing burning

is your face, in that photo they used.

Rosemary takes longer, crackles and flares.

stirring ashy f lakes, typescript remains:

words on paper rendered thinner

than onion skin, lighter than feathers.

they are lines from Talking to Grief,

that Levertov poem you loved.

Read at your funeral it felt more like

working through grief, the way we did

when we shoveled earth onto your coffin,

while the gravediggers stood watching and sometimes

jumping in to shore up the edges that contained you,

as all those people who loved you covered you

in the sandsoil of that outside section of the cemetery

where the sign says Aborigines and those of other faiths. …

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