A life full of the things we do not say:
‘We lost her’
The Dead. Joyce wasn’t afraid to say it:
Why are we?
We were born into a world looking the other way:
death has been sanitised, a skeleton
in the closet, the white elephant in the room,
a roomful of the things we do not say.
Time past, life was lived arm-in-arm with death
it was so common, we had to acknowledge it for what it is:
a part of life, a skeleton-companion,
willing us into and out of existence.
we painted danse macabre on the walls of churches,
invited death to dinner though
we hoped he would not come:
a worldful of the things we do not say.
The millions of pandemic dead
long-covid sufferers, the mentally ill
those with invisible illnesses,
What of the dying?
Those already passed into the vale, still journeying?
We push them out of sight,
pretend they do not exist when we know,
we are all part of this sleepwalking tribe:
a race cursed by the things we do not say.
© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved
Written for Earthweal
For this week’s challenge, Brendan has asked us to do the following:
For this challenge, write about the unsayable. Describe the unsayable nature of the pandemic we are still fighting our way through. Is it the event which is best known or seen by its shadows and ghosts? What tools in the poetic repertoire are there for describing and naming and calibrating it? How is it akin to the slow but tidally monstrous impunity of climate change? Where does it differ? Are there other invisibilities to which it is akin, from digital mayhem to grief to galactic waves? Are there songs for the dead? How has the future landscape changed?
The photograph is of a danse macabre from Hrastovlje church, Slovenia.