He wasn’t the first,
Alistair had that distinction
Al – at high school, we thought him full of bullshit
too much exaggeration
too much hyperbole
too much self-aggrandisement
until dead at 17 : from too much heroin,
we reclassified fiction, non-fiction.
Once he was gone,
we realised he’d never been innocent
this time, feel like the first time.
Just 20, all of us – just left our teens
20 – seemed so much older than 19
even the really old school at uni
treated us less like kids now.
In the afternoon sunshine
we stood straight and tall
lowering our heads
in sync with the lowering coffin.
no one wiped them
or risked trembling vocal cords.
We walked away in silence.