you are part of me, yes
but you seem so
far away and surreal
not quite a fairytale
not quite a fantasy character
from my little picturebook,
but you have lived only
in photographs for so long
that the thought of you
somehow existing in my reality
is almost laughable

you could almost have been
my imaginary friend
or a once-loved doll
from the toybox,
lost to the years and
faded now in adulthood
with nobody really
too sure on the
specifics of your life’s breath

I remember the sting
of dettol on my grazed toes
that I got dancing
through steps and wild
the first week we moved
the scars are long gone now,
but I bristle in joy
each time I see a strawberry
growing on the side of the road.

I remember my baby heart
turning into stone
when you sucked in your
last laboured breath
tucked into clean white sheets
your bones are long buried now,
yet your soul’s suffering
is still taking up
too much space in my mind bank

should I surround myself
with strawberries and slippers
brown LP sleeves and men who
grumble and laugh like you
used to do, before
you were dying?
will these things
ease my inheritance of your pain?

only that I had
been just a little
bit older
perhaps you’d be
an anchor instead of
the salt sea breeze



year after year
I drop
cigarette ashes
and salt water
on your portrait.

is this not
a potent enough
is this not
the spell
that will work?

my arms are dirty
with the
tea stains
you left behind,
vanishing solution
to clear them.

my lungs
and heart
they perished
with your
yellow skin.

but mine
emptied of
travels onward
despite complaint.

there was
no need
to breathe in.
no need to

the lesson
was learned
in a hot room
of lilies
and machines.

the fifteen holes
in organs
rotten from suffering
tighten into
scar tissue.

they are
as I am

I will
visit again