The Secret Pages: Harlech

Mam held your hand in the fake-pine backroom.
The undertaker had pulled back a lacy cloth
to reveal you looking much the same, but inert
in a blue, quilted shroud of man-made fibre:
I would rather have seen you in a suit.
I looked. He covered your face. We left.
He must have sensed me uneasy, unfinished.
Did I want some time alone with you?

He let me back in: left me on my own.
I thought I ought to speak, to your form.
I don’t recall my words, the flat phrases
I set limping on. I wish I’d held them in
rather than trying a glibness of grief
that betrayed the living silence between us.


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