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October 2016, vol 12 no 3

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Michael Dylan Welch


for Jerry Kilbride

Six months after you died, a package comes in the mail. A heavy box from your library, sent by a mutual friend, a set of hardbacks, some of them first editions, by Denton Welch. You wanted me to have them. And though I lived two states away, you found a way to touch me after cancer.

rain starting –
the date of newspapers
crumpled in the box

A novel among the books falls open to Chapter 17. There, a ticket stub from 1968, London. I think about what you saw, who you went with, or if you went alone. How we would see a movie or concert together now and then, and how many friends you did that with, in San Francisco, Chicago, Geneva, Kuala Lumpur. Week after week, decade after decade.

traces of frost –
a wood duck decoy
rotting in the weeds

And then, Chapter 21, by a paragraph about spring, another punctum, surely from Hyde Park, or Kensington Garden, that year you knocked on Denton’s door and made friends with the artist and her husband who live there still.

marking a page
for forty years
your still-green leaf

Note: Winner of the Jerry Kilbride Memorial 2013 English Haibun Contest