Aged five, I once missed the chance to say goodbye.
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After the single knock
she grabbed her son’s hand,
held it high,
as if unwillingly he had been dragged there
down a street she always forbade him -
the street she had grown up in -
to a long ignored door
that opened to a single act.
A Sunday dress on a weekday morning
arms miming an unseen burden
heavy with the slow dignity of grief
she invited them in to view her dead son.
Keenly the boy moved forward
to check for tyre marks on his friend
and explore his new condition
only to be roughly jerked back
to the uneven blue-black path.
He memorised its diamond pattern
as the two women faced in silence.