in memory of Warren O’ Connell

At the bus stop
where you often stood
the feeling
there’s an absence
happens.

And stooped old men
still roam the town
and walk with sticks and
carry bags, and
take it in turn to startle me
to sorrow.

Your empty house echoes.

I chose your bellows
as a keepsake
to remind me of
your last and laboured breaths
when eyes glazed
you held my hand
and repeated the five words
‘I will not be afraid.’

But I need another heart
on the right side of my chest
a hollow house where loss
can set up home
because I am afraid
that when the nearness of this feeling goes
like the dead
you could become
distant.