The past is clicking its wings like locks,
a bat flapping low in September.

I'm walking out into the yard to clean up
sandbox toys in the half-dead grass,

the light-dark cloud of dusk blending
everything in, my thoughts into canvas,

my body lulled into thin air. Sometimes,
it is still hard to imagine you elsewhere,

somewhere other than trees. After you'd gone,
I told myself over and over that you died.

As if I needed to relive the shock, as if
I needed the answered question, how

does something so human so immediately
go? The genuine laughter that once leapt

like a young lion from your mouth,
your unknowing last meal of filet, the good

shoes on your feet. You were once this human:
falling asleep to songs—"Madness"

on the radio, holding out a dry towel for me
after one too many drinks, your body as it

rejected things—once, the way you tried
to prepare me: you, dropping down to your

knees in a friend's attic-turned-bedroom,
the tightly rolled cigars of weed, Christmas

lights taped to the dark-painted walls, one
long window: the inhaled smoke like

poison through your veins and heart,
what others relished was cruel to you—

I still ask why your life was short, ending
like birdsong on a warm day in Spring.

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