Don’t you know love’s my new aesthetic
Please don’t say you find it pathetic
When you break my heart with the sharpest words
My love for you is my anaesthetic
I am sea. Deep, azure.
Love. Deep as you are.
Flecks of river ice thicken
waves crest and break before the shore
memories come and go
At the turning of the year
I thought I would write in the language of the now
in the language of the time to come
but then – and now – the past begins to breathe again
and stretches through forever
I dreamt of Richard and a malfunctioning autocorrect on his iPad and woke up with my face streaked with tears of laughter. Then, of course, I realised Richard was not here any more and the tears began again.
The lights on the tree, white and golden, sparked into life. People clapped and cheered. Like the real stars above, the lights would focus hopes, thoughts and dreams for the next month.
Jim took Kasia’s hand and half knelt in the snow. Yes, she said. Not only for new year. Forever.
First day back in the office. Drifts of unwanted high-calorie gifts pile up in the kitchen. A thin Mexican wave of coughing sweeps across the open-plan office; when it reaches the meeting room door there is an expectant silence as people wonder if it will gain admittance. A second or two later than expected, they hear that it has. People smile quietly and drop tissues in the bin. Darren is still wearing his antlers.
The red star on the topmost branch is dangling a little off centre. Jon is sprawled on the rug in front of the dead fire, his head on a pillow of DVDs, his feet in a pile of chocolate wrappers. A light-up plastic penguin is peering down its beak at him.
Christmas was great, he says to himself. Christmas was great.
It’s the first morning of the new year though it’s not yet light. The fireworks have melted away the last of the snow on the hills; the horizon is unsure. A car passed an hour or so ago I think; no human voices yet this year. May we all have strength.
Though you are not here
the breeze which once you breathed
ruffles my hair
and stirs my blood