20 odd years you’ve lived in my heart, my ears, rent-free in my head
your voice, your pained or ecstatic howl
echoes of a long-since dissolved favorite band
favorite songs

15 years ago I went to look you up
You’d vanished
Gone with no trace into the junkhouses and shooting galleries in the East
Gone and your actual friends were looking for you too
Gone and they were worried about you
Gone and presumed dead, gone like Thunders

But your shadow remained
and I remembered you
and mourned you
and looked for traces of you
and wished things had been different
and wished you’d been OK

And a few nights ago I thought of you
Unable to sleep
—for other reasons—
but in my restlessness I thought of loss
and those I wished we could have back from the Abyss
and you and Stiv and Thunders topped my live-or-dead imaginary dinner party

and that morning an online request
his name so similar to yours I wondered if he knew
or if it was mere coincidence
the universe smirking upon me

But this morning: oh this morning!

Your old friend who sought you out all those years ago, and worried
he made mention of my newest online pal
the one with your name

And it clicked: of course he knows!
Because he is you

And I want to scream from the rooftops

You’re alive!
Sweet lords of the beyond…

You’re alive!
You made it back from the Abyss!

You’re alive!
You survived!
And returned to the land of the living

You’re alive!
And today is a most beautiful day!