Regret: the last time I lied

The last time I lied
it curled passed my lips
like smoke
first wavering then thick with conviction

‘What do you regret?’ the friend had enquired, to which
was my answer, at first in earnest
until the memory of my brother dying flashed then flickered, the pain licking against my sides

It was not my memory, I then reasoned, as
I wasn’t there
It was not my memory to recall
I wasn’t there
I wasn’t there

I ached to save His life, a life I knew better than the grooves on my palette
I knew I couldn’t, especially from so far away
Perhaps i’d have taken His salvation into my own hands when it first began and held it tighter still
But no, it was not my life to command and hence
not my regret to swallow

But there sat still a knowing of regret
ergo the knowing of a lie,
for I let myself believe impending death was itself a trick
and tricks were not to be treated solemnly
Instead I drank unknowing into happy ignorance
and in that merry dance I lost a phone

‘A phone – that’s no regret’ they’d say
but sooth, it is
Were there ever last words typed on the journey He took home?
Did He know, when passing through the southern ‘burbs where those glorious graves perch along the cliffs, that He’d soon be buried there?

In that moment did He tell his sister he was afraid?
If He did,
she did not answer

Soothed myself so many nights
a loyal, secret confidante I’d been
forgiven His abrasions and tended to his wounds when He howled His fears in the dead of night

The truth still stood
‘What do you regret?’ the friend had enquired, to which
was my answer
‘Nothing’ was my lie.