—For Grandpa Berry

Suddenly, the board is sethe picks a counter
the cerulean of a city under ocean.
Players shift tiles to create corridors for

escape. His disowned mind travels hallway mazes.
Peregrinating, following an old map’s creases; he fixates
on phatic words on top of words, written by a stranger.

Grey walls become frustrated clay faces, straining
patience at cancelled plans. Recognised frames, mislaid
smiles. Lost Peter Pan, unbecoming.

Missing irony; unbelieved. Who are you?
Stay, please. The moments of candour,
humming a cowboy song, pour illumination

on normality like some hope of sunlight:
this pinches the most. Selfishly, I need him.
Our seat at Railway Bar to gossip in my ear

over competing violins. At night, I pray for him
deep below, in the submerged city
and his silent hand on my shoulder cries up

to me: I am still here