“The truth comes out of this hairbrush.” – Dula Nurruwuthun
If I could, I’d create a pole so high
it would pierce the sky, and still
would not be as tall
as you walked in this life.
I would summon truth
from my brush made of hair
to tell of your life’s essence;
the white of your pure intellect,
the green of your calming garden,
the red of your fierce heart.
It would whisper
the rose-gold of a Perth sunrise,
sigh the deep blue of absence
and shimmer like tears
to keep your spirit company
until the weary wood lies down,
the colors fade like daylight
to velvet night,
and I am left with
this sorriest of business.
-for Rachel Cheetham Moro, 1971-2012
On the islands north of Australia, the mourning period is known as sorry business. Some funerals include carved personal totems with designs applied by brushes made of human hair.
~ from an exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum
© 2016 Jackie Fox
An earlier version of this poem appeared in Issue 11 of Touch: The Journal of Healing
(Editor’s note: Rachel died four years ago today. Reposting this in honor of her indomitable spirit.)