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The End of Everything by Zoë Brigley

“I feel a shaking in me, and it's the ground. It's like the ground is shaking

and I will slip through.” --- Megan Abbott

And the end of the world is also the end

of my grandmother, who couldn’t live on

into an age at its close. Always a touch

of starlight: my grandmother’s hair

was scarlet as Maureen O’Hara’s, as wild

poppies that no longer grow in verges.

Laughter burst open like a red flower

across the kitchen table, or afternoons

spent dreaming in the half-light

of the TV, the curtained room where I

sat between her legs as she brushed

and brushed my hair to gold. When

will we learn that the end of nature is also

the end of us? And at that the wind picks

up at last, plucking the black silk of my skirt,

carrying news of their passing: all the live

and vivid things my grandmother loved.

How she lived so close to life, held

it with her two hands without doubt.

It seems impossible for my children---

such a life, but what is there to do

but blaze? My grandmother burned

brighter than Maureen O’Hara: red-

headed comet carrying love.


Zoë Brigley, originally from Wales, is Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University. She has three poetry collections The Secret (2007), Conquest (2012) and Hand & Skull (2019) all published by Bloodaxe, and all PBS Recommendations. She has also published a collection of nonfiction essays, Notes from a Swing State (Parthian, 2019).

She recently edited Magma Poetry 79 on 'dwelling' with Kristian Evans and Rob A. Mackenzie. She edited 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren) with Kristian Evans, and they also have a co-written chapbook out in 2021: Otherworlds (Broken Sleep).


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