8

If someone had said you passed away
this evening at 8, when my watch was still
an hour behind, on a few minutes to seven,
I'd be round for rituals with your loved ones.
We'd sip the last of your lemon tea, taking
turns to embrace you with private words.
Some would simply freeze you
with that wholly unsayable look of love.

In the quickening, we'd fold away your clothes,
close the curtains over the awful pouring
light, but couldn't do a thing for the beep
& brake of cars, the low hum of a fast
travelling bus as we'd help you to the awkward
angle on your bed, how you'd be found,
then we'd hold back for the aweful way you'd rise
to the almighty challenge of your punctual

heart-stop.

Making our journeys home
we were back in time
strangely prepared
when someone said
you passed away
this evening at 8.


from Look We Have Coming to Dover! Read by the Author (P) Faber Audio 2008, original text copyright © Daljit Nagra 2007 from Look We Have Coming to Dover! (Faber & Faber, 2007), used by permission of the author and publisher

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