(for Celia)

Our last goodbye was casual
as if I would see you again
on one of my tomorrows

I touched your arm
you flinched. In pain.
I felt a persistent guilt

Born of carelessness
that only nervous uncertainly
could freely demonstrate

Born of the habitual assumption
that you were in charge
you weren’t. Not really.

You never were, save
your own sense o duty
to boss, ay care for everyone

Too much on small shoulders
that weren’t as strong as the
force of that inner being

The force that stopped being
that was someone once
whom I loved and miss

Some time after we’d helped you
to meet your God, one starlit night
I heard your voice as clear as the sky

O lamb of God, who takes away
the sins of the world, have mercy
and grant us peace. I swear

© 2017, John Anstie

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