Chasing Ceremony/ Convincing Myself

By Hollie McNish

i’ll not get to your funeral.
that’s fine.

i know you’ll not make mine.
you hate the fussing anyway.
your favourite colour’s yellow
not black.

on your street, when next door died
too soon before you did
neighbours clapped the passing hearse
as if the corpse were on a royal tour
you turned towards your daughters

here –
don’t you dare do that for me

hair cradled into rollers
each night until the night you left
still lifting life with curls

the laws do not allow me
to stand and watch a lifetime
exit puppet-show-sized curtains
as tears try to console each other
two metres apart;

the only good things
are the sandwich platters
afterwards, anyway,
and we can’t even have those

so i’ll celebrate you here
three hundred miles from home

wear that butter-coloured jumper
you once said made me pretty
wallow in self-pity
as if your loss is all my loss

let lips tremble all they want
eyes swell to embarrassed red
too obvious a grief to meet with any friends
even with the recommended
coffin space between us

no need for all that, huh?
who cares about it, right?
i already said i love you
so many times in life:

each time i said i love you;
each postcard that i sent;
each nightie that you lent me;
each evening that we wasted
watching prerecords of countdown
at a volume that i’m almost sure
has pierced some of my eardrum;
in refining just that splash of milk
to slightly hint your tea with
till you looked inside the cup again
and smiled, and said that’s perfect

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