By Christina Thatcher
so I pick a thousand poems to read
at a thousand funerals. Order them:
first one which states grief is the act of arranging
elephant bones, then another about a deer slammed
by a car, how its organs release like parachute silks,
how we should never see what is inside of us.
I make notes for a thousand eulogies with a thousand
un-pc admissions—say how easy it is to give up
on addicts. Then, I perform a thousand radical acts
of blame. Say maybe these deaths aren’t from heroin at all,
or fentanyl, or meth or pills. Maybe the coroner
shouldn’t have listed their cause as lungs slowing to sloth-pace
or pinpointed the uneven rhythm of hearts. Instead,
the death certificates should read: us, the thousands
of funeral-going families. They should say we watched blood bloom
in the fault lines of arms, turned away when veins
collapsed like mineshafts. They should say we admitted, too often,
in whispers, our desire to be free. That we willed these kills
a thousand times. And in the end, I will step down from every podium
and say I’m sorry, I know, I agree. It couldn’t haven’t been us.
We never had the right gear for this.
We never learned to rescue.
CHRISTINA THATCHER is a Creative Writing Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She keeps busy off campus too as the Poetry Editor for The Cardiff Review, a tutor for The Poetry School, a member of the Literature Wales Management Board and as a freelance workshop facilitator across the UK. Her poetry and short stories have featured in over 50 publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, And Other Poems, Acumen,The Interpreter’s House and more. Her first collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017 and named a Poetry School Book of the Year. Her second collection, How to Carry Fire, is forthcoming with Parthian Books in 2020. To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her website: christinathatcher.com or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.