He’s not here but he’s here, like at the beginning, the time you told him: “We will burn so brightly,” and he just gave you a look, hesitant but not repulsed, doubtful but not scornful, not able to follow you or hug you or slap you or wipe away the sweat, hovering, but loving the same problem as you, you moaning, you trying to resolve a convulsion in an image, a most vehement flame, and you burned for him and he wasn’t cold but he eluded you, you clung to his arm, he looked away and he’d never looked more beautiful, and you couldn’t contain it any longer and staggered to the toilet to retch, though you couldn’t vomit, too happy, what a lovely way to burn but you couldn’t capture him in it. Nonetheless, he came and took your clammy hand.
Now, years later, hunched over another toilet, having finally vomited, staring at the froth of dull colours and seeds and bits of carrot, at rest, almost sober, thinking of him sitting downstairs, his scornful look tonight, reconciled to it, you start to try and trace with your finger a few lines in the froth, causing ripples and swirls, unsteady lines but steady enough so that from them his face begins to emerge. You’re biting your lip, it’s precarious, this image of him that rises out of the vomit, it’s intense, this focus, you’re trying to make the image whole but it can’t be, you want to fail, fold, to be left alone, but you hold, dizziness, vertigo. His frown is made of white streaks swaying and it hisses and it’s his frown but it’s yours, it’s not his and it’s not yours, it’s a seal over his seal, a tomb which hides his life, but it’s already dissolving and you feel the chills happening again and you know you’re about to vomit again and didn’t you want to dissolve and what happens in the inundation gushing what if you dissolved in him and overwhelmed him? What if you replaced him?
Tom’s book Descending Through Toughie Grace is available for free download at tommoore.eu; songs by Michael Reid can be found at brokencirclesongs.co.uk