Touch all of this old wood and well-worn stone.
I hardly know them anymore, this one
from the next. Why do we cling to these dates?

The two, a bent half-heart, with a zero’s
shackle for a ring. What a blue bruise on
a day. What a thing to commemorate.

But we chalk them up around us on walls
and trees, the backdrops to our opening
scenes, and we say, ‘It was here, it was here.’

We don’t speak. We barely see each other at all.
The wind strips the dates: we go on filling
our days. To think, it’s been another year.

Again, it is autumn with the trees blushing
to usher in our corner of the year.
At night, we seek to brush familiar bark.

Again, suddenly, we are back wading
through the smoke towards each other,
always craning our necks in the hot dark.

JOSEPH BIRDSEY is a writer and photographer who lives and works in London. He studied English at Goldsmiths, University of London, graduating in 2012. His poems have been published in 'Myths of the Near Future' (NAWE Young Writers' Hub), Porridge Magazine, and by The Poetry Society's Young Poets Network. He tweets as @flaregun.