The language of loss



The streets are calling,

in whispered words

I don’t understand.

Cries of children bleed

from rainbow chalked

hop-scotch squares.


Tiled motifs of grief,

mosaics scattered

in shades of tear-drops,

laughter now abandoned.


Street artists immortalise

red lips and blue eyes.


Pigeons touting iridescent chests

patrol rain pitted


The nuance of passing feet,

Morse beat,

softly encoded taps of

coming home.


I hear your voice

from the edge of concrete,

words across a breathless


Your face glows winter



grey vapour trails.

Death, unfamiliar on your



I try to hold my head just so

tilted towards the western


To catch the song

of cathedral bells

ringing in St. Petersburg.

To hear again the hymns

and psalms of sympathy.

in healing tones that thrill

my ears,

the metronome of loss,

embossed in thorn on

fevered flesh.


I feel the scars but not the



I pack cardboard boxes.

sealing wax and sticky tape

ape the sound of a coffin




On afternoons I answer


listening to the soft

scratching of this pen.

A nib once yours, shaft that

understood your cursive

hand and curve of lips,

As my hands understood

piano ribs and cola hips.


I have read your book

of poems,

home of words

that tracked across blue

blinking eyes

Irises exploding,

snow storm skies

in star cutter designs.


I trace edges to feel where

you turned pages.


I’ve lost the skill of


words stick on a tied


timber grinds in teeth

that will not chew to eat.


All around me, screams


I fight to understand the language of loss



– Dave Kavanagh



© 6 hours ago, Dave Kavanagh

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