for Sarah Hannah

         Poetry is how we talk to the dead when it’s too late – Ted Hughes

            Once the ceremony’s done, real work begins
                        in fury - in curtained, darkened rooms – its chief
                                    intent the mining of a perfect crime
                                               to fit the punishment, refining grief
                                                          from a wash of mourner faces.
                                                                     Oh spare me,
                                                                                such words

              are so rehearsed, I’ve even lost belief
                         in mineand so fucking what. This is me, mean, absurd,
                                    appalled by pretty wreaths and grief beneath
                                                 a pond’s gnarled tree. Midnight,
                                                             I’m back to smash
                                                                                 or someone

like your new neighbors’ bas-relief.
           They too deserve avengers of the painful lash
                        that’s not the rain hardly felt by common thieves
                                digging up graves. It’s a rage that shouldn’t pass.
                                           It’s irreverence that’s worth you. So should this grief

            be: inhalation of a box of potpourri-ish ashes
                                  with a taped-on
                                                        crab-apple leaf.


Eva Salzman’s volumes of poetry include Double Crossing: New and Selected Poems  (Bloodaxe). The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Fulcrum, Independent, Guardian, Times and Poetry Review are among the leading journals and newspapers in which her poetry and prose has appeared. She has also been widely broadcast on BBC radio. The short opera Cassandra, written for her composer father Eric Salzman, has been performed in Oslo, Vienna and Dusseldorf. She is Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths (University of London) and co-editor of the acclaimed anthology Women’s Work: Modern Women Poets Writing in English (Seren) which bridges the USA, UK and Ireland divide as she does herself , both psychically and physically. ‘Sonneral’ was first published in the Times Literary Supplement in England.