Funeral Oration

Dear happiness, it’s me again.
You don’t come round nearly enough.
I’m right where you left me last time – by the door, my ears perked like a dog’s
for the rap of your knuckles on the wood.

More often I tasted your knuckles in my mouth.
At times you were more like blood and spit
than honey and sugar water.

It doesn’t stop me from mourning you
like a miscarried child,
and waiting for your face to appear
like an apparition in my window.

I lost you too early, and too young.
Sometimes I think I am bound to you
the way a neck is bound to a noose –

or is it an umbilical cord?

You tell me.
Am I clutching a lifeline,
are you guiding me like Ariadne through the labyrinth?
Some days I don’t know whether to follow the trail of breadcrumbs
or crumble to the floor myself.

Oh happiness, I know we had our bad times
but there’s room for you in my body now.
Trouble is, I don’t know where you’ve been these days.

I couldn’t pick you out in a sea of faces
so what name, then, do I give to this hollowness
in my belly?

What name, then, do I engrave on the tombstone
at which I am now kneeling?

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