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How To Carry A Friend

to Ali

I’ve compartmentalized all the sadness,
there is too much to consume it all at once.
Nervous possible futures dancing on my tongue
make me stutter air
as the scream inside me grows and bursts
my lungs because for now, still, there is
more fear outside than pain inside.
Introductions, powerfully meaningless,
somewhere too far away from everything that was,
over a piece of ginger cake and a Newcastle Brown –
moments of deafening silence thundering over us.
Echoes of strawberries for a pound,
blueberries for a pound,
small children carried on shoulders in awe of
the city life
around them that goes
on and on,
so many smiles, so many worries,
encapsulated in the minds of all these people
and I wonder if one of them ever or now shares
this panic of having been left behind,
forgotten like the daffodils of last year,
rendered as absurd as birthday wishes
on the Facebook wall of a dead man.

The curtains close, the music plays on,
all the white roses burn.

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