"the big guy with the owl tattoos and shit-eating grin"

This balmy December had me fooled; the winter distant, grief a memory. This morning’s snow, the pines in the streets, my friends all taking flight–

His bright blue eyes are on the sidewalk, filling up with tears. We keep walking, we keep walking and I am almost falling to the ground with every step. But why, but why, but why, but why–

You and I are kicking cans out of the car. We are sitting on the sidewalk, hitting our hi-tops at the ankles. We drink a handle of Jim Beam, you fall asleep and I puke blood. I am too afraid to touch your hand when jumping off the railing. 

Strange to think, I am older now than you were then. 

I took off my gloves. I wrote your name in the snow. Someone stomped it out. They were right, but so was I.

The night of my hesitation proved the end of all my chances. Your name in my unsent missives, a hot coal. I packed my grief and fled the country, but found you in the eyes of Russian saints. The rain of Paris streets spelled out the movement of your arms. There is no escaping loss. Grief is a bloodied hound. I am a fool, a fool.

The critic at my shoulder sinks her teeth into my neck. Who do you think you are? Who do you think you are? A whore cut short by mourning. A child, a child who misses someone who could have been her friend. 

Every letter that I type shrinks smaller. A black and white photo, you are three times my size and never changing. So stupid, so stupid, so stupid, how could we–

I send messages to your inactive address. Four years… has it really been so long? The start of a long winter. But I am still here. And I remember you, and I remember you, the tiny pieces that I hold.

A dead man’s clock is hanging on my wall, and there is a shape of an owl in my heart.