All Souls

Rachel Burns

Collecting leaves for the compost heap, and flat-capped mushrooms on your knees in the wet grass. Stripping elderberries from branches at the roadside to make red ruby wine that will bubble in tall plastic vats in the airing cupboard. Time to clean the graves, the early onset of darkness seeps into your clothes as you walk to afternoon mass. Nobody speaks of it, but you can see it in your mammy’s face as she tidies the graves, scratching the letters from the dirt. Stone, after stone, after stone.

RACHEL BURNS has poetry published in literary magazines The Lake, South, Mslexia, Fenland Reed, Head Stuff, Lonesome October, South Bank Poetry, Ambit, Smeuse, The Herald newspaper, Toasted Cheese and A Restricted View From under the Hedge. Poems anthologised in #MeToo, Poems for Grenfell Tower and Please Hear What I’m Not Saying.