Moniza Alvi

Less, much less

He hardly spoke any words
only two — 
or you could call it one

the last thing
he said
was bye-bye

veined and hairlike
with interlocking barbules

of  sound
the bye-bye trapped
a breath of air

the two linked words
drifted out
on a calm lake

that lay there
with a single purpose — 
to receive final words

and allow them
to drift on its surface
out and further out

on the lake of  thought
and composure
encircled by mountains

the simple phrase
soared upwards
to the highest peak

where it would be planted
like a flag
would eventually be enshrined

each identical word carefully
balanced either side
of the invisible join — 

like baby talk
he put equal emphasis
on each word

his face was pinched
and his bird beak
very prominent

there have never been
two joined words
with so much space around them

pack up all my cares and woes
light the light
I'll arrive late tonight

blackbird bye bye

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