No one knows quite when

I knew a man
who used the skin under his eyes
to carry the memory of adventures.
The black of festival night skies
stretched above his cheek bones,
sprinkled with stye-shaped stars.
They bulged with midnight conversations,
24-hour buses, the wrinkles of knackered smiles.
No one knows quite when it happened,
but he emptied the bags
and filled them with bad news.
He looked left and right and left and right again.
He carried the weight of coffins on his face.
His cheeks dropped
like a dream into a river.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

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