Friday, April 22, 2022

Requiem for Steven Heighton



Somewhere we have arranged                          with spring

a language of lament. To hear you’ve died. Abrupt, enough

to tear the earth                 along the Aegean.



Sixty years                        , this unfinished sentence: through

a telescope of bone. With spring                            , as autumn, you wrote,
an old man’s Lent. Such currency of quiet charm,

of warmth.   



You felt it all, it seems, their hurt           , their loss
: of friends divorced, dying or depressed                    , if this                              

a crappy year, you asked. Your love                 , an island

separated by the low rise
of lake.                                        And now,

this urgency of emails; to rephrase                   silence

as it petrifies,                     where once you roamed

against all reeling.



What gap-toothed boardwalk                 of acoustic riff, a distance

travelled regularly, and with ease. And into                 hours.

A circle of chairs. A beer on the lawn.



If, as you wrote, to die is truly                         to become invisible,

then perhaps                     this isn’t possible. A dram of single malt,

the waves of which                               

have crashed. These poems, carved                  from bread and butter,

shorelines, secrets             , tundra                   : something brittle,
ancient                    , deeply human. Stone                

as old as wine.



I only just heard                you were sick.


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