*featured in ‘Nico kicks Spoken N Slurred,’ hosted by Paroxysm Press, 25 March 2017.
The woman lived in a cottage on the outskirts of Northumbria, overlooking the North Sea. She sat nestled in an armchair sipping peppermint tea. Despite her lips being coated with ointment, they were severely cracked. She thought this might have been due to the lack of humidity in the area. So, she took a sip from the Royal Albert rose teacup to replenish them.
The woman then felt a pulsating discomfort from under her scarf–so she lifted it to scratch between the patches of grey hair that were concealed underneath. Upon this, she noticed how strands of hair were caught between her decaying fingernails, so she brushed them away.
Her weak hazel eyes shifted focus and became transfixed on the program Songs of Praise at the beginning of a new hymn. The volume was muted, but she did not mind this at all. The woman was able to recall the song by the motions of their lips. She remembered precisely how it sounded:
What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by his Grace
She savoured this moment. The woman felt at ease. She reassured herself.
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
The woman then closed her eyes, dropping the teacup from her hands as liquid soaked the carpet.
I never knew the meaning of death until now.
I could gain a sense of it through passages from the Bible and their perception of the afterlife–that when you die, you see the light at the end of tunnel and enter through the pearly gates of heaven to live in harmony with fellow believers.
I also became aware of how those with a particular faith claimed that our life is remodeled in other forms once we pass.
But unlike them, I now have a clear image of what the afterlife consists of. I have become adapted with a heightened outlook, believe what you will.
I will admit that I once trusted in the scriptures–the distinct, though nevertheless, varied recollections.
Every time I read a passage, it felt as though my existence was enhanced in some way, I thought I grew wiser.
But now, my point of view has changed, so let the truth be known, allow my voice to be heard. I have been enlightened.
I have experienced it firsthand.
So listen to me when I say that what you are told can be falsified.
You have the authority to see within the cracks.
Deconstruct what has already been built.
Focus on the intricate details with a fine lense.
Emphasise the moments you question it. As a matter of fact, relish in it, for these are the moments you are closer to uncovering the truth.
Hill, J 2008, Homecoming Picnic, Apple Music, Spring Music Group