Amnesia as First Aid Kit
grandpa’s lips are always moving, praying.
panting after silence. he says breathing is
a type of hunger; he is tired
of its pangs & sits facing the window, daily
waiting his turn. last of his friends,
he speaks only to angels now. at a funeral,
he lifted hands when the priest, with sarcasm said, who’s next?
grief will do that to you.
the year I lost Tessy—my dog—I became a cat person. amnesia
is how we handle loss in this house…
death is a type of amnesiac spell,
I crave it too grandpa.
Pamilerin Jacob is a Nigerian poet & mental health enthusiast. His poem was shortlisted for the Ken Egba Prize For Festival Poetry 2017. Author of Memoir of Crushed Petals (2018), Gospels of Depression (2019) & Paper Planes in the Rain (Co-authored, 2019); he is a staunch believer in the powers of critical thinking, Khalil Gibran’s poetry & chocolate ice cream. Reach him on Twitter @pamilerinjacob
Grief is a private island. You can only wave to people from it. Even people who have lived on that island, who may understand where you are, can only wave back. And yet the island is invisible so unless someone knows you are on it, they talk to you as if life is normal, and sometimes you don’t have the energy to explain or try to that you can’t understand a damn word they are saying because of all the water and wind between you and them.
A very few can whisper from some place different and make you feel temporarily less lonely because they have had a similar enough experience and an ability to empathize in a certain way, but in the end, it’s you and your island. And there’s no shorting the loneliness and sheer pain of grief.
“We can forecast nothing. It arrives when it arrives. It disappears when it disappears.” (from ‘Take the Weather With You’)
The stories in this collection by Sharanya Manivannan (Harper Collins India, 2016) undulate – this book is a sea of women, each voice honoring the collective memories, hearts, and bodies of women. Earthbound, the voice of each character rises up from the pages like wind – arriving and departing, breath-giving, season-changing. We see them facing their deepest selves. We see them give space to their rawness and their desires. Fierce and utterly unforgettable.
“It’s like someone aimed a rubber band at my heart and didn’t miss. I have waited my whole fucking life for someone to call me kannamma.” (from ‘The High Priestess Never Marries’)