© By Gerald Dawe

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My only problem is your death
when the radio was stuttering
over breakfast in this flat,
the predicted west gale welting
around our postage-stamp garden,
a fat crow crouched under the wall,
and the early morning warmth
dazed, an impractical consciousness
footering with cups, toast laid
in their apparent order,
when first I heard your name.

It sounded crazy, somehow or other
as incoherent as a dream:
your name, age, place of birth,
and then the on-the-spot commentary
reasoning details of why and how they
waited in a car for you coming out
of a huckster-shop with cigarettes
and pumped six bullets: five when you
sprawled on the street. It’s hard to
make that count. The boy that did it
was a few years younger. Twenty years,
six bullets, nine in the morning.
I toy like a child with these numbers.

© Gerald Dawe, Count, 1978, complete text, Sheltering Places, 1978 & 2008, The Starling Press.

Gerald Dawe tries to comprehend the pointless murder of a friend reported on the morning radio news.

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