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Bernadette Hall


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BURIAL FRAGMENTS


it is the fifth year before the millennium    .    .the flux has passed
through me    .    I have wept much

it was the man who found the body    .    he removed two sheets
of opaque glass from the roof vent and entered the room    .    dislodging
tufts of ivy from the upper storey

I fail to mention    .    I fail to mention the morning light

the woman already knew    .    she had touched the stillness through
the locked door    .    she had touched the silence    .    she remembered
what to do though she could never have described it to you

there are three sisters and each one has a different gift    .    this one
has outrageous noise    .    this one irreverence    .    and this one laughter
   .    the woman summoned her sisters and they came running

they looked on the face of death    .    and it was neither familiar nor
unfamiliar    .    neither beautiful nor unbeautiful    .    neither reassuring
nor terrifying    .    it was what it was   

the youngest placed a brooch of china roses at the throat    .    the eldest
laid a fine white cloth on the face    .    and one strewed lavender    .    the
man spun the silver screws down

this is a true account    .    as true as is possible given the possibilities
  .    this is the possible truth    .    there are bound to be others   


From Still Talking, Wellington: Victoria UP, 1997
Bernadette Hall
 


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Last updated 25 March, 2005