No smile or words. Rigid, unyielding,
for that last photograph.
His arm, slack, around my shoulder. I turn from the shot.
Hide my tears, knowing he wants to be gone.
That final blurred image, shutting the car door.
I stumble through weeks of white-hot fury and freezing fear,
invent a radio-crackling theatre of desert and dazzling stars.
Here, rain and sleet turn to numbing snow.
All is blanched bedlam in the headlong rush to Christmas,
trudging across slush-stubbled fields of rotting crops under a vacant sky.
I flinch as a muffled shotgun rings over crow-huddled woods.
Will him alive, to live.
To bring him home in one piece,
braced for that body I made and witnessed, signed easily away.