work(ed)/body | trauma(tised)/body | a poem

loss sits right in front of me

a man at a table in a crowd

a man unknown

a man who looks like you

in one way or another

maybe only I can see it

his face moves, he moves, eats and drinks

stands up, I can barely pull myself together

forget to breathe

he walks, one step, two steps, closer to me

and I see you

your face in your coffin

your body in your coffin




eyes closed

I don’t understand

something within me doesn’t want to understand

but honestly, I do

I know where my brother is

and that this man is not you

but I see you everywhere

coming towards me

in familiar shapes

projected shapes

and grief erupts within me


as if it had been born just now

memory wiped clean

I stand at the till and watch him eat

I stand there in my uniform

I can’t breathe

I can’t see properly

my tears won’t fall

and customers queue in front of me

and expect me to smile and smile and perform

and I take their order thinking of my brother in his coffin

My own drawing © Laura Gentile 2021 | Instagram: @melpomenepaintings

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