Zoë means life

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To my friend Zoë
whose name means life
who is a poem
much richer than this
a love letter
a witch’s dictionary
sage of all that is known or felt

Zoë
a Dada dandy
my surreal sister
humourist
in the face of death
she touches up my pain
with the tiny brush of absurdity
dials up the light
on my chiaroscuro
until we howl
and the bitter tears of joy
run over round cheeks

Zoë stands and faces
and says fuck you
to the things
that should be fucked well off —
she is soft rose velvet
blue glimmers of giggle
plush cushions of cuddle
sharp spikes of valour
she is my chainmail armour
and it is lined with cashmere

she is my posture straightening
my cradled soul weeping
my voice heard
and my anger multiplied
she is my mother and my other and my brother
she is every soul’s lover
she is 12
and 15
and 20
and 46
and 87
she is timeless
and ageless
she is a living ancestor
the ground and the feed
the seed and the sun
the rain when it came
she is all that she knows
and she knows like no other

Zoë means life —
happy birthday

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