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Image by Edward Howell


with the martello journal

Today In the Obituaries

by conor henry

It is the Irish conglomerate
of omniscience
that makes a stranger’s death
so familiar - as their life
was interwoven with those
of friends, relatives, parents,
cousins; so too their death
is interwoven with our grief.

It is not knowing everyone myself,
but knowing people who together do,
that makes the spilling sands
and drifting wood of time
so tiring.

It is not knowing names and faces,
or even the history of their bloom
and blossom and decay -
it is hearing their names and seeing
faces crumble like chalk. It is
how their stories are told, how tears
fall in plush, cavernous silence
as stalagmites grow and
roses bloom, blossom, decay.

It is not about me.
These are not stories I will tell
as if I have any right to tell them.

It is not about the heartbreak
I do not feel, to my guilty dismay;
it is just knowing that someone new
paints the obituary pages,
that friends, relatives, parents,
cousins, stare at the glossy photos
and empty chairs, and weep.

Life carries on, flowing
with the little rivers
tracking down our cheeks.
Life carries on,
and so must we.

Tired, aching with the friction
between shards of glass hearts

and the steady roll of the present:
So must we.


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