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Conscious and Unconscious in Varying Degrees of Time
(In loving memory of Colin)

They called me when I was sitting staring out the window (and wondering about proliferation)
Could have knocked me down with a feather (or anything handy).
‘But that’s absurd’, I said, unmoved, unemotional.
‘He’s in the best of health’, I said.
‘I would have known’, I said, arrogant (presumptuous).
I said, ‘I’m his best friend.’

I walk to find 106 and I am still unbelieving (and thinking about the oddity of it all)
That face on the pillow doesn’t look like the one I know (and love).
And yet! I saw you only on Sunday, we were together.
‘You have an addiction, they say’, I whisper.
My throat is dry, I might lose you (so selfish).
‘Why didn’t you tell me? I’m in pain, I’m angry.’

I take the limp hand and sit down, unreal, this is just a dream (and I will soon wake)
Your eyes are glazed (you don’t know me).
‘Look what you’ve done’, I said, hysterical, suicidal.
‘You’re going to die, you’re going to leave me.’
‘You should have told me’, I said, sobbing (guilty).
‘Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t I see?’

I lay my head on your chest, conscious and unconscious
In varying degrees of time.
‘I love you and you’re going to get through this.’
‘Fight it, please, do it for me’, I’m hoarse, desperate.
‘And then we’ll talk about this and hold each other;
We’ll do lunch, hang out, have a drink, we will chill.’

I make the trek to your tomb, your grave, your resting place (at least once a week)
‘Nobody made me laugh as much as you did,’ (and instinctively I whisper here).
‘Colin, I just want to tell you, it wasn’t that dark that you couldn’t be seen;
it wasn’t that loud that you couldn’t be heard;
I wasn’t covered in fairy dust and I saw you,
naked, with the needlemarks on your arms.’

A. Vardaraj — All Rights Reserved