It is time to write to you, I realize
looking up from a book as my husband
tells me we are running late.
But you are long gone, familiarly gone.
Is it a defense mechanism to say
that we never should have been friends,
me with my Cloisters and flannel pjs,
you with your Grapevine and safety pin earring,
as if friends are made by matching games?
I cannot remember the point you made
that Sunday morning, except we laughed
for a long time at knowing two most obscure
answers to the crossword and not the rest,
and named my cat right then.
That is it —
that I cannot remember the point, what you meant.
Our hearts, obsessed with survival, capable
of so little then, shoved memories under
sofa cushions, avoided every burden.
Oh — but that is not the way it works —
I fret over your death, that you were alone,
never having anyone or anything that was yours,
not even a place to crash after a wild night
except my couch, which disappeared when I moved
away. Who held your hand?
Yes, I fret, on my couch in my living room,
surrounded by people we fill up Christmas
cards with, things we chatter about, things
we cannot predict as well as we might expect,
but that perhaps we should have.
That I wish I had loved you with this heart instead,
grown taller now, fiercer, more pliable, openly
imperfect. That you would not have been alone.