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Keep your face to the sunshine
and shadows will fall behind you. -- Walt Whitman

On the night of your leaving party by Trish Delaney

we had plans to stay out, to catch
a morning pint and curl cigarette smoke
in the corner snug of an early house,
to practice our long distance chat but

before the ecstasy snaked
its final caustic trail down your throat,
you gagged, and no water, were sick.

Through cloth-covered window
and a lurching mess of limbs
the early daylight hunted us down,
singling you out as I backed away.

Strands of hair, slick across your face
your body crumpled, coalescing
with the contents of your stomach.
Detritus of youth pooling at my feet.

The doctors say there’s time.
I haven’t said goodbye--I don’t know
can you ever come home after not
breathing for three weeks on your own?

The Linnets Wings