Memento mori

Jet is the bead for mourning,
black, pure and hard -

it is the shadowed forest, vibrant
with birds and leaves

and the death of forests -
Long nights of rain sweeping

fallen branches, abraded
by river stones, to the sea.

A rich silt covers them,
seeps into grains and fissures,

the weight of time and waves
compressing the fibres to a dark

jewel, a lens to view the earth’s
histories: the first expulsion,

the voyage on the swollen tide,
the siege of mud - each bead

is a bereavement: the empty crib,
eroded hills, fields of blood, the burial

of love. Add your own lament
to this inventory of loss. Catch

in the lustre of a stone whose colour
never fades, your mirrored breath.