Shiva by Miranda Gold




Tears at evening prayers – they weren’t mine:

hot and strange as the skin I slipped outside 

looking on at you looking on at grief staged

with crystal tumblers waiting for whisky

and anecdotes told by White Rabbits.


A hollow Alice sparkling faint hears 

too late of a woman who was and was not

you – a woman I had never met, introducing me

to my own mother – Mads, Maddy, Madeleine. 


White paws on my arm, mouths move

catching words too long after they’d been said 

words I might have said – not yet conscious you’d come

back and back again for me – not yet conscious of how I should

have loved you as I tried to love you while I had the chance.


Time of death: 1.30. Two days after Christmas tinsel 

draped round beds and paper crowns discarded –


Such a shock, the chorus said –


only you’d been preparing us for thirty years

waited until we’d stopped waiting 

living by your broken clock

tip toes in 


Through the cemetery under winter sun,

noting headstones on the way, names 

ten, twenty years engraved, reopening

lives we can only just begin to grieve 

whose absence we’ve only just begun 

to feel, a fresh coffin lowered

in the milky light.



The Athenian Women make grief seem grand work

not this vague sense of no – the hovering not yet – not 

yet before I’ve loved you as I should have loved you

while I had the chance.



Miranda Gold’s first novel, Starlings (Karnac, 2016, Sphinx 2019) reaches back through three generations to explore how untold stories about the Holocaust ricochet down the years. Her second novel, A Small Dark Quiet (Unbound, 2018) was selected by The University of New Mexico Press for their Best Peace Fiction anthology (2021). In her review for The TLS, Caroline Moorehead commented on its ‘bold attempt to portray the greyness of growing up without roots or identity, cast adrift in an uncomprehending and uncertain world.’ Miranda is a creative writing tutor and workshop facilitator at Skylight, Crisis, supporting members to voice their experiences through poetry and prose.

20 July 2022