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Painting by Julie O’Brien –

For Billy who left us yesterday…

Lying there he doesn’t know

that others gather

in wait

their decision weighty –

from a choice of none


his New York drawl

acquired years before

trickled jokes

like rain down glass…

like tears

one Christmas we went

i was barely ten,

snow lay elbow high;

an ice cream island

with one more snowman


beneath a tree

presents gathered

a crystal dog pawing a ball

a flower that glistened

like a squid’s insides


he wore his life

over a skinless heart

and made mistakes

as we all do,

in a journey travelled


when the switch goes off

he can slip away

free of age’s cage

effervescent in memory –

We will not forget.