November 2020, for my friend Damaris who died last week

Trees undressing
leaf by leaf,
tears falling
one by one
from grief-grey clouds
grasses sighing with sadness
at the first whisper
of winter,
of dying days.

A telephone rips
across the early dark,
'Thought you should know'
my friend says,
'Sad news. Damaris
died in the night.'
Damaris? Always lively,
always full of chat,
hard to think of her dead.

I look outside,
leafless trees, mist,
an uncanny stillness.
I ball a handkerchief
in my hand, run
full-colour memories
through my head.
Damaris, did you choose?
Clouded funereal skies,
just the day for dying.