21/11/1983 – 16/10/2006
I never knew you, not really, not in the way
that others did: that sharing-dark-thoughts
and communal experiences of CPNs, units,
tubes. But I admired you. You had something
I lacked: independence, courage. I craved your attention.
When you died, I cried. Played that Lou Reed song
over and over. How could I possibly do this
if you couldn’t? I absorbed the details, struggling,
feeling ever-more like the outsider, unwanted tourist.
One storm-night in Dunstaffnage I stared at gerberas
through smoke-warm windows: your favourite flower.
I read your poetry and was torn apart,
my own sink filled with roiling heartsblood.
One man saved my life with a single kind word.
Someone I trusted far more than she deserved
said, “not EVERY suicide goes to Hell.”
So I left my people. Just for you. And ten years
is such a long time to unpick all the strands
of abuse, trauma, body dysmorphia, body dysphoria;
acrid taste-sting over the toilet bowl. But I did it.
Bleeding and crying I claimed my body my own.
I wish you were here. There is no ending
to a story that’s ended. It hasn’t been an easy decade,
but I really wish you’d been here for it.