Hour Nine: This Too…

We were pen pals.

First, we were friends.

Then, we went to college,

she up north, I down south.

So, we bought stationery,

envelopes, and fine point pens.

The mailbox held word-gifts,

much awaited,

and, in return, smiles

at the little red flag at rest–

the letter box surprise.

We once lived together,

the three of us,

in apartment 3G,

like the comic strip

no one remembers.

Only two parking spots,

one of us running

to safely make it home

from across the street

of a shady neighborhood.

After, she lived with me,

in the circle, a house

we could not afford so

rented every square inch

to pay the mortgage.

Holly’s room, the queen

suite, suited her.

Her royal touch,

like the fingers she lay

on my shoulder, as

she leaned over

from the arm of the couch,

as if we’d always known

each other, as if we’d

been in mid-conversation.

“I’ve got these spots on my arm.

What do you think they could be?”

I was mortified.

Who dared speak to me, hiding

out in the back room, away

from the party’s throbbing center,

avoiding people?

And she captured me.

Somehow, she gathered my ease.

So, when I penned my words

on a neat square of yellow flowers,

a half dozen years later,

and sent it north, the red flag up,

she responded:

“He won’t leave you.

And if he does, it will hurt

until it doesn’t.

This too shall pass.”

It did.

She returned.

We toured the states

in celebration of college degrees.

Drove a Volkswagen Bug

her boyfriend’s friend rebuilt

cross country, losing parts

along the way,

swollen tires in Tacoma,

loud muffler in Yellowstone,

and ball bearings in Ohio,

and yet,

we made it to DC.

I took an Amtrak to New York,

where everything changed,

including a reason to be there.

Thirty years later,

I hugged her as she cried,

tears of shame and remembrance,

as I called her my “forever friend.”

My palms cupping her cheeks,

thick from stuffing grief,

I spoke her words,

“This too shall pass.”

And she did.

6 thoughts on “Hour Nine: This Too…

  1. This actually made me tear up. Thank you for writing this – it was lovely to read (even though it is sad). Knowing that heartache passes, but so do the ones who alleviate it – a truth that exists in poetry.

  2. Stunning elegy. And the unexpected tension of this intimacy: he won’t leave you… And then the road trip. Lots of brokeness but the journey kept on. Maybe like the speakers marriage! And then then the death of the speakers friend. You had foreshowed it but still it surprised.

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