Dying in December

for Basir Sultan Kazrni

It’s always desperate when it happens
and I count now a dozen or so who’ve died,
a handful very close, bad timing all,
but to die in December seems cruel,
doubly so, cheerful festivities planned.

Not knowing how poorly your mother was,
Faraza’s message came out of the blue
and stabbed something that was anaesthetised
by my father’s glide from ‘seriously
ill’ to a state nearer stability.

Your prayers for his well-being were noted
by more than just me; those things that touch us
most deeply are common to all it seems.
I remembered your mother in her chair
impassively watching the video

of the memorial of your father’s
literary life and too early death,
wondered how twenty five years’ absence felt.
While, up the wall, a silvered gecko slid,
to me, anyway, quite incongruous.

It is the helplessness that torments most;
like no longer being able to make
that call or send that silly epistle;
proffer the steady hand in dizzy times
or simply be in love, trust or friendship.

The departed one has gained the shadows
of a metallic, grey evening, skating
beyond the trees now on December ice,
with the moon for lighting and in the west
the icy, winking embrace of Venus.


From Email from the Provinces