Hold my hand, dear, and say it’ll be okay.

i held a fist of sand as i once

held your fist

and watched as the grains

slipped away

like smooth fingers sliding

out of a warm

grasp

and the hollow air that

remained

was a reminder

of you blowing

whispered promises

into my ear

and my red palms

stayed permanently blushing

from the absence of the sand

and

the absence of you.

Feathers

I was waiting for the bus, one day,

when I overheard

a conversation.

There were two speakers.

The first was a boy with

stars in his eyes,

and the second was

a girl

with wind on her lips.

Schoolbags hung

heavy from their wispy shoulders,

but the weight didn’t bother them.

Their hands were entwined,

in the shy gentle way of love

fresh from the oven,

and their voices

were whispered feathers.

I caught one of those

in my palm,

and listened to what it said.

“Where’s home?” the boy

asked,

his voice raspy

and she replied,

“Down the street.”

“Who’s in it?

he asked again,

eager to know

everything,

and she said,

“My parents and Toby.

My mom would be sitting on our

ancient sofa, in her checkerprint

apron reading a magazine.

Dad would have gone to work

in his tweed jacket

his watch wound 5 minutes earlier

to ensure he

was never late.

Toby would be running

around the house

in a flash of gold,

and waiting until I came home.”

She asked him the same.

His eyes hazed,

“My Gran. She has

the wrinkliest face

and makes the best

pie in the world.”

They laughed together,

in their own bubble,

and I

thought

that if someone were to ask me

who was home

they’d get the most

dismal response in

blue curtains

a

broken television

and the

ghost of you.

The Bucket List

The hair is gone

I watch

as she chops it off

and it falls down the sides of my face

like a snowfall of brown

I try not to choke

as I remember the times

when you’d run your fingers

through them

and tell me they smelled of strawberries

and now,

my love,

your strawberries lay at my feet

rotten and dead.

I’m sorry.

I look back at my

reflection

“Dear, it’s all done.”

she whispers.

I wince slightly,

as my head reflects the light

shiny in it’s new landscape

bumps and endless stretches

of bald pavement

“I look like an egg.”

I joke,

she laughs,

but I see the tear.

Life is short,

I know,

trust me.

And so is my bucket list.

It reads thus:

‘Let happiness make you cry’

I want to

bubble over with laughter and

joy

so much so that the emotion

marries

my soul

and my tear-ducts

give their

blessing.

I want other things, too.

Time, firstly.

Time to spend with you

tracing

your spine

and laughing at your geeky

jokes.

I want time to create more memories

like the kind

when we spotted an owl during

a midnight swim

and the kind

where we lay entwined

indistinguishable as two separates

and smiled

into each others beings.

I also want,

selfishly,

a baby.

(she’d have your eyes, darling.)

A little token to leave you with.

Without this

to give you,

only one thought races through my head.

-Sweetheart,

when I’m gone,

will you forget me?-

And then,

when my moment of daydreaming

comes to an end,

after everything,

I think

of only one more thing,

my love,

your gentle, patient face

shadows under your eyes

as you held my hand

last week

so bravely

and now, the sound of your

tapping feet

from outside the room

as you wait to see your

egg-headed wife

and smile encouragingly

(as i know you will),

and I ask,

-Sweetheart,

when I’m gone,

will you forgive me?