LIVERPOOL HANDS (by Michael Daugherty)

She smelled of gin and Lime
Street station, gestured at passing life
with a hand that flew away on flights
of fancy, crash-landing on mine

time and again in a blaze
of high-octane laughter that billowed
about us in clouds of joy belied
by the pain in her eyes

when she lifted a glass
and thought her mask still safely in place.
Twenty years beyond just once, I chase
a memory to that last

train in London, not quite
fast enough to catch the me of I
who wave scarred and untouched hands goodbye
to any chance of twice.

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