He died in August

Just Mediterranean sky.
    Nothing,
as I fly. In bottomless waters
solid blue depth of emptiness

Sounds? A life pulse beating.
    Mine I think.
reverberating
through the ocean.

Muffled on landing.
on an anvil struck too often.
    The gentle lapping
transmitting the hollow
amplified sounds of shattering.

My own loud breathing
and screaming grief.

My hands look warped, odd,
    through the mirror of the surface,
underwater larger than above,
an uneven grafting.

The stitching poor.
An undertakers temporary work.

I lie as a drowning.
Not choking in fluid;
    God!
Those last days,
when I wanted to get you away.
Clear of that awful place.

Infernal machines keeping pace.
    Counting down your life.
Clocks ticking the hours to grief.
The cold finality even when I knew
I would lose you.

Days of thinking about
    a white coffin.
Words spoken and words forgotten
I wanted it all to be right,
that last kiss goodnight
last salute to our little soldier.

Would your life have been bigger?
    Submerged in salty water
Warped on the surface.
Small above but large below.
Beating and sustaining. Life.

Instead of being reduced
to insignificance,
drowning under a mask
that kept broken lungs pumping.
For what? Nothing.

Would their limited function
have been amplified
in the buoyancy of salt water?
Would my tears
have kept you alive?

Christ knows
    I have cried quantities to fill oceans,
dense salty tears.
To support you forever
in the buoyancy of grief.

My heart is still beating
    yours is not.

  – Dave Kavanagh

Inspired by the brilliant work of Sharon Olds

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