Harry Ricketts

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Good Looks

for Max

Here you are again; your handwriting, at least.
In my copy of Good Looks, page twelve, you’ve underlined

in pencil: The bodies are weapons, someone will die of them.
Did you just think it a good line? What did it mean to you

twenty-plus years ago? Against You must abandon
your pain, it is someone else’s (also underlined),

you’ve written a bit like 1965-6 Dylan
— as it is. There was a time, a long time,

I’d have rubbed it out as I started to in my Seamus Heaney
Selected Poems. But now all’s past amend, let the faint,

wavering marks stand, as though you’d just written them
— you’re smoking, of course, flicking ash, just like I do,

excited at your own thought, at the act of trespass,
still quick with promise, still friends with possibility.

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