Beautiful, not an adjective applied to men
but at that moment he was
auburn hair undiluted by age
eyes microscoped by the large lenses of fashion
wistful and blue distending into the troubled future.
Almost three decades later
I could return to the room and mark
the exact point where carpet and prophecy bisected.
but still the seventies
cushions on the floor, earthenware goblets.
Crystals stalactite from the ceiling
stirred by children’s high octave laughter
the Red Sea of noise parted
to allow the passage of prediction
brief seconds of sorrow while hyperactivity gathered breath.
The topic of conversation a fellow employee
older than us
but not by the margin self deprecation claimed.
Some people will not die from old age
my friend solemnly pronounced
sobriety draped black over us.
Seventeen years later the same room
in a different home
one divided by the absolute symmetry of divorce.
My first return to the town where pain began
a visit which has healing as its intention
but only deepens the bleeding.
Names from the past punctuate the evening meal
our former colleague?
Died. Ten. No, eleven years ago.
How old? Not yet fifty. I recall our discussion
at another place
in another time
and the prediction that was statement.
Blue eyes contract behind contemporary frames
and distil fractions of past. He has no recollection.
For the back story click Backstage
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