• Jessica Norman

A Scattering

We scattered you

Under the fig tree

So we could feel your touch

On the wind

And bite into your fleshy fruit.

Some of you we threw

Into the lake where we spent last summer.

I don’t know

Which part of you it was -

Your liver, your spine

Or maybe your ears

(my favourite bit of you)

We scraped you

Off our shoes

where we left you at the end of the garden

We wanted you close.

They’ve gone now, the fanfare

The house is quiet

Like lead.

Things rustle, and I think of the day

I ran ten miles for charity.

You said:

Why bother?

But you had tears in your eyes at the finish line.

A 40 year legacy

Evaporated when they knew

nothing else would work.

You were resigned,

But I could smell the fear on you.

I still had it, though - hope - held it close.

You laughed at that.

And now:

A slow process of decaying -

I peaked at 13

Next to the burning candles of a menorah

They said my face was stately

My arms

The perfect shade of wild strawberries.

I didn’t feel whole until, at 21,

I jumped

but couldn’t swim

Falling through the deep green

Past mermaids, naiads,

Until suddenly I broke the surface.

Life’s like that:

a process of falling, upwards.

You would have laughed at that.

But now -

The space where your laugh was.

The jars you collected for me

Are still there, on the top shelf.

You never stopped hoping that I might make my

Pineapple and fig jam again.


I didn’t have the heart to throw them away

But I did stand on a chair and put the last of you into a slender jar.

One of these days:

I hope I don’t mistake you for pepper.

#WildWords #poetry