How could I have known I would need to remember your laughter,
the way it ricocheted—a boomerang flung
from your throat, stilling the breathless air.
How you were luminous in it. Your smile. Your hair
tossed back, flaming. Everyone around you aglow.
How I wanted to live in it those times it ignited us
into giggles, doubling us over aching and unmoored
for precious minutes from our twin scars—
the thorned secrets our tongues learned too well
to carry. It is impossible to imagine you gone,
dear one, your laugh lost to some silence I can’t breach,
from which you will not return.
for Fay Botham (May 31, 1968–January 10, 2021)
Copyright © 2022 by Lauren K. Alleyne. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.