The Uncanniness of the Dead

A poem from a daughter to her mother

I watch her take the stairs one at a time

she is hesitant

but frenzied

her hair is mussed from sleep

her eyes still opening to panic.

I watch her pause

as if dazed,

desperately undecided

on whether she must proceed.

Her knuckles white

against the wooden bannister,

the blood seeping from the inside

of her cheek

and somehow she is at the door.

I watch her.

She pushes it open,

takes in the room,

and things come crashing down

all at once.

Time stands still

makes little sense…

a touch of skin

cold and


an unnerving stillness,


Her gasping breath.

The uncanniness

of the dead.

I watch her

I want to help her breathe

but I can’t.

They carry her back out

and away from that room,

she is a weight on the floor

curled in on herself changed forever.

She is handed a glass of water

but I watch and she is still choking,


a poor baby,

a half-orphaned animal

like a little lamb ripped away from its mother;

she is ripped away from mother.

Poem by Megan James

Photo – Megan and their mum