(un)read

i met my friend
in an online book group
we shared a love
for gritty dark
urban fantasy novels
and a real friendship
developed over time

he killed himself
before the final book
in his favorite series
had been released

now i sit
with it loaded up
on my kindle
unable to start reading
as if when it is done
the memory of him
will go with it

there have been more
than a few new
suicides since
the world closed down
people like me
trapped alone
enabled by the pandemic
to vanish away
with just depression
to fill the long stretches
sitting in silence
i have lost so many
wonderful lights
leaving my mind
buried in shadows so deep
i am losing them
one by one
stars winking out
to leave an empty sky

i am going to
read the book
knowing afterward
i cannot talk to him
listen as he
tells his favorite parts
and that rings hollow
in my aching heart

i wish i could have
helped you
all of you
but that is my burden
picked up as you
set yours down

if every loss
is another fracture
the spiderweb cracks
run across my sullen
so deeply engrained
i doubt i will ever
truly be whole again
i miss you
all of you
the silent victims
of a shut down world
a pile of unread books
and painful reminders

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