Smoking a ciggy
atop a Saint Petersburg roof in summer,
tonight’s best friends are beside me
—our rucksacks sharing a room a few streets down.
Cathedrals stretch towards a sunset
that just can’t get itself to pierce the day.
But just now,
at this very moment,
my chest begins to ache.
This is old news
—the doctor back in Adelaide said it’s nothing;
said it’s just a chronic strain and not a sick heart.
But sometimes the gut
knows more than the doc.
I know, too, that my grandmother’s sick heart
took her before she had the chance to feel
my own beat.
Yet whether or not I’m really dying sooner than I’d like
or the body’s simply reminding me
that either way I’m dying
it’s not a heartbreaking kind of prompt.
More than anything
it’s just a reminder to live
as I chance these ciggies
atop a Petersburg roof
with tonight’s best friends beside me.