Frankie McMillan

working in the halfway house

I pick up bad habits like smoking
on the back porch after lights out
and a tendency to see dead people
passing across the sky as stars
say, Freddie Baxter, who jumped
from the Takaka bridge his pockets
weighted with stones
(he’s there next to the South
Celestial pole)
yours was a slow reckoning
not until spring did your bones
turn to chalk. there’s nothing
to dying you said and a small
pride lit your eyes as if you’d
mastered the trick; a clever horse
tapping its name out in letters
would you laugh to know
I still wait for your crossing
matches in hand    to frighten the dark

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