I see the graceful swing
of his smooth locs first,
stretching like fingers
down his muscled back;

easy sway of hips
strutting down the road,
working his orange high-viz
like it was amber-encrusted…

now he has his own time
at last,
all he wants is a small cottage
in a forest
near grandma’s place,
where they played poo-sticks
dropped faithfully into water
- rushed -
from one side of bridge to the other
- laughing -
to see them emerge
like a magic trick…

“Spare some change today Maud?”

Maud was shocked he wasn’t dead yet. She looked up from oat flat white and her plate of sourdough toast, smashed avocado and poached egg, and gave him a self-conscious smile.

Over the last 7 years, she had seen him deteriorate. Gain a black eye…

Yaa saw the girl outside, from her chair next to the window of the Lebanese restaurant on Edgeware Road, pacing. Young, pretty, black long hair pulled into a off-centre ponytail. Zebra-print trainers, grey tracksuit bottoms, big overcoat. Black polished nails. Headphones in, phone in hand. …

The mad woman on the roundabout looked young, early 30s. Not yet wrinkled or covered in dust. Almost normal. The only tell-tale signs her slightly matted wig, the fact she slept there at night. There were plenty of women awake on the roundabout in the dark, standing together or evenly…

we hiked green hills
all day in brown heat,
sweat through t-shirts,
tried to be brave
for each other’s sake,
stretched feet rock to rock
careful not to fall,
held hands as if to help,
let feelings shimmer
just beneath the surface,
invisible to eyes
who thought we were
just good friends…

our ancestors
leave wisdom deep
in the backs of our brains,
reach hands in
to plant more as we grow,
snatch out cankers of fear,
guide us, nourish us,
a never-ending daisy chain.

our ancestors,
show us the path back to ourselves,
souls severed from lineage,
thrown across seas,
raised out of context
like…

when you think of death,
what do you see?
I see a glowing spirit,
sitting cross-legged,
smiling,
drawing souls back to itself
from broken bodies,
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,
in the depths of dark night
beneath golden stars.

when you think of death,
what do you see?
I see closed eyes,
wise men, wise women,
healers…

Grace

Traveler, poet, educator, yogi, activist, artist, writer, British-Jamaican Londoner living in Ghana https://soundcloud.com/gracelouisewood

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