The Cloth and What It's Cut From
Caitlin Thomson

The Cloth and What It's Cut From

In the hazy time before memory, my first death—
old age and a pillow printed with blue flowers
to remember her by. There is conflation
when it comes to death,
the person and the way they died
cannot be separated.

Death has never been a person.

My mother calls on the phone from another country,
and she does not speak of death, but I know it is in the room
with her. My grandmother watched Frasier,
had the softest skin and a collection of bluebirds.
She talked without a hint of the South she grew up in.
Her dying is my sharpest memory, the green of
the nursing home, the perfumed smell of it,
I try to separate her from that space, cannot.

Death has never been a person.

I long to know the dead, as I know the living,
an ongoing conversation—a missed call and a returned
one. Death itself changes everything. I cannot
think of my friend without also thinking of the bridge
she jumped off. A failure on my part.

Death has never been a person.

Caitlin Thomson

is the co-founder of The Poetry Marathon, an international writing event. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals, including The Adroit Journal, The Penn Review, Barrow Street, and Radar