He was my good friend, Brian,
gentle – a bit shy
one gold tooth glinting
at the side whenever he smiled.
On school sports day I loved to watch
the notes he made against the high-jump bar –
The way he climbed the air –
His fearless sideways flip. His winging arms.
Until one ordinary Monday morning
Our teacher faced us in the classroom –
Brian… over the weekend… hospital
Ruptured appendix… Peritonitis…
I remember how I headed for home
blinded by the bright day flipped dark –
and how we took turns bearing his coffin
under a scorching mid-day sun.
In dreams he’s still my good friend, Brian –
A touch of spark
A floating black question mark.
Copyright: from Cosmic Disco (Frances Lincoln Books, 2013), © Grace Nichols 2013, used by permission of the author