All Roads

Grief is calmed into a dull ache and pain is persuaded to be liveable;

the numbness in your throat and the itching of your nerves, predictable for a long time,

until it isn’t.

Age does not startle or gut fervidly, she settles quietly into the empty cavity abandoned by youth.

Sometimes recollections of the first swallowing of the medicine confirms that someday arrived very quickly, greeting both the length and brevity of life in one moment, and forgetting it just as soon as it came.

The unnamed feeling in sheltering from the rain and feeling protected beneath covers whilst knowing that the rain still falls, recognises the yearning for warmth exists only because of the cold.

You drive in the car through the rain, expanses of countryside skies and comfortable doorways blending with straight grey roads and orange lights.

In the back of your mind these memories form, blurry, unsettled and sweeping from your stomach into your bones and dulled nerves.

These things are lost and cannot be recalled, relationships are left behind, re-awoken and become muted half-lives brimming with the dissatisfaction and wonder of forgotten love, and the desire to be endlessly alone

and nothing, and nothing, and nothing.

I am peeling the skin from my fingers until it is too sore to continue to do so.

Peace and unrest are simultaneously triggered by songs on the radio and leaves falling on the windscreen.

I am being driven past the place you are buried-

atop a green hill set before grey, thunderous skies-

that I don’t recall immediately.

I am tapping my fingers along to the radio instead, the rain pelting against the glass, my left arm is tucked beneath my right for warmth and my right middle and index fingers move to capture the music and to scratch the remnants of detached flesh from themselves.

There are clouds and shadows on the horizon which seem to throng with festive nostalgia, and you are sitting next to me tapping your fingers in an identical way.

The suffocation does not yet feel predictable and I gasp for air beyond the clouds, and my driving companion asks me if I am alright.

The quiet drive resumes.

I know that I am older now than I will ever live to be, that life is changeless since the first breath,

that all roads lead to the same end.


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