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Suddenly I was naked by Violet Bourchier
 

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  • Suddenly I was naked, aware of my bare flesh in the room. You were there again. I felt a panic, as nakedness with you is confusing. I slowly felt the weight of awakening enter my brain. Since you chose to go, you have often been stealing back in in the night. As a shadow, as a thought, a letter shape bird tree. Since you left you have passed into every atom.

    Over time I will see you less in the palm of my hand, no longer underlined in each page of my book. You will no longer be the walk into work or the look in my aqcuaintances eyes. Over time you will be a photo I find in a cupboard alongside letters from Grandpa, school day memories and teenage dreams. And I will think of you, and struggle to see you smile, or hear your voice.

    The day I heard, I stood on the beach and watched the waves crash into the stones and wondered what it would feel like to drown.

    The funeral showed me a shattered glass, pieces of people broken by your absence. I looked down through the mist and I saw I was naked. My tears had dissolved my dress I had chosen so well for such an occasion. I looked about me, and saw that others had lost their coverings too. We tried not to make eye contact, horrified that our shame was out.

    I have images of your last moments. I don't want them and I tell no-one. I have no right to see you like this.

    Your family drew me into your years and I know you better in death than in life. I fear this is my fault.

    I don't know how I'll die. But I know I will. I have 20 years on you. I'm going to have many more. I hope.

    You have terrified me by telling me we have a choice whether we live or not. Only once or twice have I felt the wolf's breath on my neck, urging me to leave, but I have covered myself with the knowledge that it is my purpose to live, pulled this cloak around my eyes to avoid the wolf's searing gaze.

    I will dream of you again and I will hold you with me in my waking days for yet a while. And when you fade, what will remain is my hold on this cloak of living. I am not draped in it anymore, but holding it aloft.
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