A FRIEND TO WARD OFF THE DARK
I hunger for cleaner air, for the haze
to clear, for the smog to disperse, for a cleansing rain.
Threads hang loose from my jacket, my boots are caked
with mud, my shirt ripped and torn. There are holes
in the knees of my blues. Where is the joy
that I have built my house on? Where the heart
that has mended? Where the breath? Where
the smile that cracks my face in two?
I feel the need for my old companion, my compatriot.
For his gender-bending daughter and unemployable son.
For his attractive wife and her pale blue eyes.
For his loose strokes on the tennis court and funky serve.
For his need for a dog in order to save his marriage.
I would like to regale him over lunch with stories
of my own family, with tales of my escapades corralling
unruly children at work. I need his taste in beer, his disdain
for coffee, his sweet tooth that is overindulged.
We have children who play with toys. We are children playing with toys:
We fire cannons at imaginary enemies. We erect statues to fallen heroes.
We ride horses into battle.
We are wild within our own dreams.
Faces look past me, through me, as if I were air.
We are all part dirt, part godhead.
Those I meet look like those I have not yet met.
Published in Common Ground Review 2020
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