Watching while words die

We shared a red umbrella
beneath grey northern skies,
emotions pooled at our feet
I didn't see the bus pull up
and you stepped on without
turning around, I looked up
at the rain then watched  
you take a seat.
The hiss of a closing door
meant I was too late
to talk about the responsibility
I wanted to take.
So, I watched the taillights
disappear is swirls of road spray,
the words I couldnít say  
lost in October's dripping branches.
Your mother called in November
just after the first flurries.
I imagined you with sunken eyes,
hospital white, blood spreading  
into the snow from  
between your thighs.
Winter was a frozen churchyard
where lonesome crows  
spoke above headstones  
in echoes of my own voice,
dictating all the letters  
I should have sent.
I found Jack in a late bar
that smelled of pizza,
TV too loud to listen,
beer stains on his belly.
He was shouting at strangers
telling them his problems,
always the same tortured lament,  
still they would nod because they knew
what he meant.
The night the cats came
I could have intervened,
saved the fledgling,  
placed him in a shoe box
with cotton wool bedding,
or spoke poetry to take
his beating.
or simply written him a new ending
one where he was able to fly away,
but Jack was just a character  
I sealed in my notebook
and I couldnít let his ink
transcend to reality or
find the words to save
his minds fragility.
You were in fashion
after the bike crash,
Itís funny what death does.
You always seemed worried
about what people thought,
desperate to be accepted deeper
by friends with no depth.
When Iím home
I walk the fields,
follow the brook up to
the railway bridge,
drop through the hedge
into the graveyard.
It doesnít seem right
to drive through the main gates,
I would feel too old.
Your picture is always a smile,
embedded in resin, fresh faced,  
shoulder length hair and leather jacket,  
all the trademarks to help you fit in,  
find a slot, part of our lot, I guess.
Itís nice being 17 again
no matter how brief the moment,
that first taste of whiskey in the days
when music meant as much as
motorcycles and cigarettes.
You still get a mention
when the old bikers see who's left
and meet for a melancholy beer.
Don't worry,
Iíll come and find you again next year.
Written by Razzerleaf
Published | Edited 24th Aug 2021
Author's Note
Competition 3 letters
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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