Write Out Loud – Day 6

Guest Author: Kallista Chayil

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

This piece has come such a long way over the course of the semester. Fun fact – it used to be double this length! Kallista chipped away at it like a sculptor, and really found its heart. The formatting is so playful but the words are quite somber, and it’s that juxtaposition that makes this poem work.

Behind a Veil – by Kallista Chayil

Did you hear the prophecy?
Beware the Ides of March…

Behind a veil – the crowd pauses

growing weary, held down
without an ace to see me through
I lost the strength

the gravedigger arrives and unloads his tools

Hollow condolences
Empathy – an atrophied muscle

the plot measured – the spade breaks the sod

Critical eyes judged every step a misstep
imaginary foibles  spotlighted relentlessly

“Perhaps, I could have done something?”

the earth cracks

Playing the deaf mute
you looked the other way

Disbelief dominates thoughts
as the coffin moves past.

the soothsayer called the warning
did you pay heed?

the sod is peeled back

“I can’t believe it.'”
echoes round the room

rejected    marred   declared never good enough
strengths  in a different realm  became a burden

the shovel pries the earth loose

they dominated    pleas dismissed    voiceless
smaller      without a chance       outnumbered

Shades of black settle into pews
silence fills the chapel

the gravedigger pauses

alone  without a comforting arm
nor  an  encouraging  word

“Such a shame”  hums in the background

prying at the dirt the shovel strikes again

will someone   sit with me

Heads bowed in reverence, a candle lit

an overstepped boundary
incessant teasing     ridicule
intensity doubles in the next attack
silenced again

the shovel pierces through

“What a pity” – the crowd murmurs.

a heart broken    again
exhausted    barely making it through
alone    waiting

the mound of dirt accumulates

“If only I knew”

anxiety immobilizes
I could do nothing else

the shovel pries at the coarse soil

Lacklustre words          the phone  collects dust
winter boots exchanged again for summer dresses

Dusty memories of a call not made

your promise     like the others
bouncing like a rubber cheque
sits beside a silent phone
I waited   rigid   with the memory

tossing another clump, sweat drips from their brow

“Could I have done something?”

small wins   over shadowed
Hijacking the conversation your air of superiority
commits you to wrong answers

An unsolemn face
networks the room like a greased politician

the gravedigger embarrassingly reaches for a kerchief

anxiety trumps anger
my response landed on disbelieving ears
silenced      frozen

the gravedigger wipes his brow

“If I had known”

i wandered
sickened by another broken promise

a final clump lands with a thump

Time now to pay respects

a too late guest
oddly stumbles in

the work is done, the gravedigger sleeps

Thank you for digging my grave.  

The silence grows

Beware!  â€¦ The Soothsayer warned the emperor.

Anyone for a game of cards?



Beautiful work Kallista!
Haunting imagery and piercing words.
Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us so honestly, Natalya

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