We used to punt
On rivers and over locks
You fell in showing off 
At Parson’s Pleasure
Left me to finish the journey

We had many homes
And none
The flood waters crept up
Over ancient roman furrows
Beyond our garden fence
Never quite touching us.

We were gypsies
Without a caravan
Tramps without blisters 
Itinerant scholars
In a game of musical chairs.

I buried you in hallowed ground
In a contaminated zone
Locked down by a deadly disease.
Red earth drummed on the oak
Containing your form.

Unmoored on St Giles
I stopped in front of a beggar
The wide open space was
Giving me vertigo.
I said what can I do for you?
He smiled and took my hand
He was dying too.
Go in peace, he replied, 
You have everything you need.

I moved on.
I’m moving still.
Lighting candles as I go
Against the suffocation
That tears up in my throat.

by Beatrice Brooks

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