They called me at three o’ clock in the afternoon to tell me
you’d no longer be able to call me at three o’ clock in the morning
to ask me what day it is, that you’d no longer be able to go out with me
to a bar like a fishbowl with bull sharks circling;
that you’d never again make love to me in the woods
or drop acid and sit in the sunshine writing songs and talking to god.
I didn’t call you the night that you passed; the police broke down the door
and there you were. Honey, you shaved off all of your hair.
I followed you,
one hundred yards ahead and walking heavy, slow. I went into a trace;
you took me all the way to the cemetery where your grave was still crowned
with a thousand lovely petals, not the barbed wire you’d have asked for.
I felt a halo of surging sunlight glow. I could your bones beneath me.
I could feel that you were gone, that you didn’t want to come home.
I remember your perfect cheekbones; your pliable, wonderful skin;
how you would squeeze me tight, and bury me in.
Now when I go to the cemetery an Arctic wind blows up my dress,
your mum never neglects your grave. Yes baby
we all had lessons to learn. No more would you rouse
from your sleep, imploring me, what did I miss, what did I miss?
from Beautiful Girls (Penned in the Margins, 2013), © Melissa Lee-Houghton 2013, used by permission of the author and the publisher.