Silhouette of trees opening to a path

You were a corpse last we met.
Not gracefully deceased in a coffin gift box.
Not wrapped in satin, painted in peace.
Not a decorated comfort to mourners.

In the desert, we played at survival.
We ate a cactus.
You had the knife – I went along.

You came to us in cardboard.
Like something ordered and delivered
Like some evidence for our trial.
Like some thing.

In the forest, we built our fort.
We had a flag.
You climbed the tree – I planned for your fall.

I have your poems.
They are inky track marks.
They are smoke rising from a shabby Chicago room.
They are the ashes of you.

In the dark city streets, we walked the night.
We reveled in the freedom.
You picked the fights, I stood witness.

Mom found your stash.
And there, your journals.
And there, your ashy dreams.
And we, the unpeaced living.

I received you out of context.

We are estranged pieces of a whole.
I held you in my fingers,
I let you float on currents of air and water.
I knew to do that.

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