I came home after a long long time and in the hallway
I bumped into a seventeen year old girl.
I said ‘it’s me’ but she shook her head like
there was water in her ears and salt in her eyes.
I said ‘it’s okay’ but she looked at me blankly.
I said ‘it won’t kill you’ but she hurried past
and turned that dark corner.
In the room I grew up in
I opened a wardrobe and an old friend fell out,
the yearbook photos where we sat side by side
staring the camera down. Arrogant and eagle-eyed.
That year it rained and I wore his jacket
until it smelt like him and me and his hair
and my smile and the wet grey roads
I walked every afternoon with it
heavy on my shoulders –
and only then did I give it back.
I do not know where he is now. It’s
* * *
It took me a while to figure out
what had been different about waking up
in the city. Not the cars. Not the new walls
I lived within. Nothing like that.
Eventually, I knew i