When I said You are Dead to Me
what I Meant is that I Loved You

by Kelly Gray


Within your absence
I orchestrated

great obsequies within our church
which was a field.

I pulled grief sounds from the soil
beneath my feet up through my body,

my hands lap bound and rattling
to hold the memory of you

brining me a sweetness I could eat
while my knees were safely exposed.

When my wails subsided
I spoke carefully of your life

to a room full of strangers,
as if a part of mine had not ended

when we were both alive,
quiet to the way you fed me,

a thousand funerals in the shape
of our dresses.



Kelly Gray’s writing appears or is forthcoming in Witness Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, Permafrost, Trampset, and Rust & Moth, among other places. She is the recipient of the Neutrino Prize from Passages North and the ArtSurround Cohort Grant, and she was runner-up for the Witness Literary Awards. Her collections include Instructions for an Animal Body (Moon Tide Press), and Tiger Paw, Tiger Paw, Knife, Knife (Quarter Press), MUD~ Field Notes from a Juvenile Psychiatric Institution (Bottlecap Press), and Quag Daughter (forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press). She’s thrilled to have been selected to teach with California Poets in the Schools, and is hard at work creating a curriculum based on monsters, edges and lore. You can follow her wanderings at @_west_of_west and writekgray.com.

Share This Poem: