why  do I imagine you
when already substance / you are / friend-of-firm-palm
folding-and-unfolding / shaking-out
you  — who get-things-ready / you who are / not-likely-to-forget?

busy-laughing one / moving-lovely-surprise —
I try to imagine how I will feel you
when your soul / mysterious evaporate
drops its work and turns to disappearance

I imagine / even then / we will be /
inseparable watery selves
springing up from cracks / sinking into cracks /
forming clouds / then raining
always being
air and water / lit by fire / spontaneous change
no earth to dull our coruscating liveliness

without imagination / I think
we cannot know what / or how / or when
death may collect / one or the other /
one left whining / time-already? /
time / already come

So now / NO RESTING friend / let’s pledge
no resting
from fingers feeling the printed ridges of the other’s hand/
slipping / away-away / and still trying / in the last-lost /
in the second of asking for impossible /
busied past noticing the present / suffering foreboding acutely
let’s imagine
we can achieve perfect stasis on the difficult pivot of actual

now let humble touch whisper deep understanding
no danger in allowing / death in not

Poem and photograph by Jo Mariner