“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).