Consider the secret of secrets, their ability to sink
yet float. Teetering in us like polished cups.
The sacredness of finding yourself alone, sudden liberated bliss –
she felt that. Wildflowers mapped her walk
down Drury Lane, when Muriel sent out her novels,
her face sanded by rejection slips. And diet pills,
so thin she was, thinner than soup in her rations booklet.
Not to worry: her work sustained her. What she wrote
charged the post-war era, her pockets of prose.
I separate her letters into laundry piles, cherry-topped
by this one, when a sadness ravaged an entire winter.
The kind of thing, you’d think now, girl,
get your shit together, there’s help out there. Hotlines for you.
Whatever gets you through the night, do it. Add to cart.
And when she wrote, all I ate was 6 lettuce leaves,
a small slice of tomato, three crackers –
where was help, when she needed it? Consider grief
a good thing, how it changes the air’s electrons,
when you emerge from a door, into a door,
when the secret is heavy yet light, becomes actual light
and you can’t stop thinking about it.
Theresa Muñoz is a Canadian poet and academic living in Edinburgh. She is Research Associate at the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts where she organises the Newcastle Poetry Festival. Her work has appeared in Ambit, Poetry Review, Canadian Literature, A Year Of Scottish Poems, and many other places. In 2018 she won a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, and a Muriel Spark Centenary Award to write a sequence on the life, legacy and letters of Muriel Spark.