Tuesday, April 6, 2010


(Photo by S. Sepp, from Wikipedia)

All these years after your death,
I’m told
that everyone knew
how I felt about you,
though I never breathed a word
to anyone, not even you –
in the class we took together
even your lover Bob,
apparently, those nights
I slept on your couch,
way too drunk
to go home. He knew
what I was drowning
and was kind to me,
and made no confrontation.

Years later,
when I had a lover
of my own,
you reappeared,
and newly single;
you brought poems
and photographs
that found their way
into the paper
where I worked.
You worked
at the drugstore
at 15th & Spruce.
I’d stop by
to say “hi,”
have a soda; we’d both
keep it light.

I would hear
that you were dead
before I even had a clue
that you were sick.
It was so sudden
in those days, the “new disease”
nobody really understood yet –
swooping down
the way a hawk would
on a squirrel.

I’d no longer looked at you
as I once had;
I’d still had no idea
that you knew.
You must have –
everybody else did,
so they told me.

I wonder,
when you came
to reconnect,
if you hoped
I might still be free.
I wonder
if you didn’t know
that you were ill yet.
I wonder
if I dodged
a bullet.

And I wonder,
if I had been free,
and you had known
and told me,
if the knowledge
would have stopped us --
old friends
just crazy enough
to die for love.

-- © 2008 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's permission.

This poem appeared previously in Issue 9 of the literary magazine Fledgling Rag,. Thanks to Editor/Publisher Le Hinton.

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