Like Smoke

like smoke
I conjured your ethereal autumn ghost
now haunting a sixth-form college library
frozen in a hundred poems
mistaking you for doppelgängers
hoping for fated glimpses

I search
for an elusive constant as invisible as gravity
BIRTHS, DEATHS and MARRIAGES
each hope unrewarded, each cul-de-sac
crushing, tugging me back
to nineteen eighty-four’s history section,
where I’m pressed like a keepsake tortoiseshell
in a book that belongs to you

decades autumned in your eyes
have wintered me in sunless Svalbard
hankering a homecoming
from a Quixotic crusade,
a crocus-crowded morning
washed up on your doorstep
welcomed to hearth and table
only to grasp smoke
empty handed

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