Monday, 2 September 2013

Speech with a Dying Friend:

Come Lazarus,  come sit up
and have a chat with me these last minutes;
remember that day we played down the sideway
you were six and I five,
you lifted my blue dress up to my waist
and dropped small stones onto my yellow panties
as you sang, ‘When Johnny comes Marching Home Again.’
My mother caught us and on the way home you hid
on the floor of the car, terrified of meeting your mother.

Come Lazarus, just sit for a time,
sit up and talk some more
about the summers by the ocean;
remember the pier at Rye?
You were fifteen and we dove together, your hand slipped
and touched my breast, we kissed that evening
sitting on the grass between your father’s tent,
and mine,the tea tree's rough bark rubbing urgently
against my skin. The stars shone above 
and your brother, his white teeth sparkling, threw water over us.

Please Lazarus, stand up for me.
I want to hear your voice, I remember when
you would sometimes whisper into the conch of my ear,
your words thrumming into my brain. I remember
the way you screamed and laughed all those summers ago
as our families holidayed at Ocean Grove
and how when I got lost in Spooky Forest, and the light
started to diminish so that shadows confused me further,
you were the one who found me, your voice
called out my name so loudly
I was able to follow it out of the maze.

I know our lives have separated since then
but those nights and days still have their place
and even though our adult minds pretend importance
those memories are as dear to me now
as when they first happened.
Please Lazarus, life has been cruel to me -
two children lost to drugs
and a third in prison
but the memories of you have held me
through some of those dark evenings
and in the back of my mind  like an unsung bell, is always 
an ‘if only and maybe’.

Please Lazarus, my beauty is long gone
and my skin once smooth
now wrinkles like the ocean, I feel everything moving beyond me,
past some point where I will no longer exist,
but you are always in my background,
always a hope, a possibility.

Please Lazarus come back to me.

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