It was the season of drifting scents,
ice on the windscreen,
pine needles on the wind.
Outside, Christmas roses still clung
to thorny stems and I longed for secateurs
to deadhead delicate corpses
but could not bear to touch petals
the colour of bruised skin.

Instead I opened a window to cut
the cloying breath of flowers in her room.

Now I lift the lid of a cardboard box
stuffed with crackling photographs
and treasure the fading monochromes
that echo with her laugh.
The only image that refuses to fade
is the one that clicked in my head
of her gaunt body and blue eyes turned to grey
on that last day.

Kim M. Russell, 30th September 2018

Mum and me when I was two025

A poem I wrote for The Poetry School Decisive Moment Studio, which I am linking to Poets United Poetry Pantry.

34 thoughts on “Adrift 

  1. Secatuers. I had to look that one up. I’ve been using them and didn’t know them by that name
    Happy Sunday Kim. Thanks for dropping by my sumi-e Sunday today


    Liked by 1 person

  2. This poem left me with a lump in my throat. Yes, sometimes the images in our mind are much stronger than the images on photographs. Just attended a funeral yesterday. I had seen him two weeks ago – and my last ‘image’ of him fits with your last stanza. The gauntness is something one doesn’t forget….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh this is so poignant! I can relate to the feeling of having a memory that’s even more fresh and intense than one in photographs.. I lost my cousin in the year 2007 when she was merely 21.. it was very sudden and unexpected as I had just visited her 48 hours earlier.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The progression is perfect… the way the first stanza squeezes at the heart, how it makes it hurt, and then we get to exhale in the middle stanza, and the last gives us bittersweet relief… The rhyme, in the last stanza is… just perfect. Like a chant and a prayer, a soothing reminder…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It took a friend being gone for a little bit before I could remember him in full health, the image of him days before death were so firmly etched in my mind. This is touching, and delicately done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The gauntness, the eyes fading into the skin. This is a heartbreaking read Kim. Especially the last day. I remember my mother’s eyes as well. I especially live this pic of the two of you. I can see your resemblance to your mother in this one. The looking at the old b&w photos and the echoing of her laughter is especially poignant in this poem

    Liked by 1 person

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