I thought it would be like passing through a doorway;
it’s more like entering a corridor lined with locked doors.
I feared it could be a void, black, a hole down which to fall;
really it’s white like snow beneath your feet, melting.
I believed it might be like setting out on a journey;
it’s actually like missing your last train home.
I hoped I would meet up with friends and loved-ones;
it’s more like arriving at a party after everyone has gone.
It’s not a land awaiting discovery, but an overcrowded track,
rutted and chewed by the dog-weary feet of travellers.
We call it the closing of a chapter, the turning of a page,
but it’s a book in which the last words are missing, unwritten.
It’s coming back to a house occupied by clocks,
where there’s still washing up to be done, memories
lie unswept on the mantle, ash gathers in the grate
and the edge of your cup still wears the red lips of your smile.
‘Lazarus’ lament’ received a Special Mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)