Posted by: holdenlee | December 30, 2015

A friendship lost at sea (poem)


1

You’ll be captain, you said, and I’ll be first mate.
I’ll ask you questions, you give me answers, and I’ll be the devil’s advocate.

It was spring before graduation, life an open gate.
I had a resume built like the Third Piggy’s brick house, and an A in scholarship.
The only missing thing was a friendship.
So I said – Great!

You asked:
How do I know in my heart what’s true,
when I might wake up the next day and think that’s NOT what I want to do?
How am I the only one asking why,
not eaten enough leaves to be a butterfly?
And if you suddenly unloved math,
would you still follow the garden path?

Like blood in veins, snowmelt in streams, the vital force of springs, your questions flowed true.
The answers? I thought I knew.
We talked, the semester flew.
Because deep down I shared the same worries as you.

You said:
I like to random-walk the city until the streets look shifty, and I have to ask my way back.
I like to climb the hill behind my house and watch the stars when everyone is still except the bugs who listen.
I like when a stranger sits down next to me, and starts talking about, oh, I don’t know, Egyptian history? Then I’d tell him my life philosophy.
Oh no, I don’t have facebook – I’m afraid I’ll drown under the weight of other people’s likes.

You asked:
What is friendship?
Did we miss that same day of class?
Where would Harry be, if he never met Ron and Hermione?
And when we drift apart, will you throw a flimsy piece of string, or raise the sail and catch the wind?
I said: Don’t you worry overmuch – I’ll keep in touch.

2

I thought: Like algebra leads to calculus, surely friendships grow up into relationships.
You said:
Forgive me, but I’m not yet sure you’re as true as Horton Hatches the Egg and hears a Who.
A broken heart is just a well run dry. But a broken friendship – that’s a poisoned water supply.

I sent you stories of camel rides and coastal hikes, crumpets with tea and trips to Italy.
You said:
I’m sorry, but there’s not much news from me.
Except, what do I do, when I’m down to the last job interview, and I simply don’t have a clue?
Please don’t stay, I have nothing left to say.
I’m just a sea urchin lost underneath a rock,
a rusty anchor abandoned on the loading dock.
Why don’t you fly free,
so you won’t be weighed down by me?

I thought you needed some time alone.
(Oh God, how could I ever atone?)

When you closed the windows and lied on the floor, I should’ve slipped you rainbows beneath your door.
When your ship was about to sink, I should’ve given more than just a friendly wink.

Then I sent you emails. You had no facebook. I called, a stranger answered.
The address in the directory?
Wait interminable.
Return to sender: undeliverable.

3

Did you retreat into your own Walden Pond, to come out years ahead, more yourself than everyone else who is but a shell?
Did you tire of contorting your body into a question mark for every inch you climbed, and so cocooned yourself into a butterfly?
Or did your stream of questions finally find its answer in the ocean’s lullaby?
Or did you decide that I lied when I said I was your friend, did you step in front of a moving train – so that it would end?
I dreamed of you the other night – random-walking through the city in flight. I ran in expanding spirals on pounding feet, hitting every corner and every street – but then I realized I can’t fight probability with certainty.

We never touched but you left a vampire kiss.
I could never hold all the water that you blessed.
Because if a dam were an answer, then a question is a leak that you’ve sprung in me:
How do I find another one in infinity?

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