Sunday 21 November 2021

Marie Brummelhuis: 'Heb je een begrafenisondernemer weleens zien huilen?'



Already as a toddler

I knew what I wanted to become,

definitely not a teacher or mother, that was boring and stupid,

not a pilot or firefighter either,

no, something so mysterious

I didn’t even know the word for it.


In the sandpit I practised digging holes,

for you don’t learn swimming from a book.

When my hamster Wiegel died

I consigned her (my mother thought

it was a female) to the earth

behind the shed in the garden,

sleep little baby, I hummed to myself.

That I wept and wept

made it all more lovely and genuine.


After that came some trickier fieldwork:

taking leave of my grandma.

I was allowed to be at the mass and the cemetery,

the jersey I was wearing was itchy

we scattered rose petals

I could throw farther than my younger brother,

we’d forgotten our handkerchiefs so I blew

a bogeyman into my new corduroy dress.


The moment you died

and I stayed tearless from misery,

my training was complete.

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