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Thank you for leaving a note

I imagine you had your reasons. A better offer
elsewhere. Didn’t relish the clearing up.

Some us had already considered leaving, it’s true,
but here we are still, figuring out clouds,

flirting with wisdom, using up our outbreaths
and heartbeats like there’s always tomorrow.

Funny how there are so many new wonders.
This year I learned that labels in sweaters

are sewn into the left-hand seam, never right.
But I still don’t know how electricity works

or anaesthetic. Perhaps you know that now,
together with all the secret formulae and whether

it was a good thing to go early, or whether
stabilisers on a bike are ever a good thing

since we only learn to balance by letting go –
despite the advice of our instincts – and this

is what I’ve learned today. Anyway, thank you
for leaving a note: Go outside, breathe. Enjoy.

— in The North 64 (Summer 2020)

Robin Houghton 2021