I saw her then, a girl displayed
in her mother’s wedding dress,
and fitted for the modern world.
The original was lost.
What does it mean?  So much was lost.

Meantime, I clasped your hands, recovering
while twisted tendons cracked and snapped:
I could not look.
Look away!  I had to look away.
But there is no forgetting, only honour –
or perhaps compulsion, half-remembered.

Then there was compression, absent
comprehension, inappropriately applied.
Take a breath!  Another.
Without thought.
Who knows when it will end?
Or if it has….


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