We had been friends for a long time –
early twenties, to late thirties,
from the formative years …. to the settlement ones.
career precedence …. friendship survived,
decreased by girlfriendship
sidelined by courtship …… evicted by marriage.
Pride dusted itself down and looked around
much company – rejection is not personal –
a new Queen and a new court.
An almost decade passes,
memory becomes forgetful of when inclusion was.
The road is sombre. The destination serious.
Terminal illness. The final visit.
The last town before the hospice city –
Unnecessary coffee stalls facing the unfaceable.
images of past vigour align with platitudes of decline –
what to say?
It is time. Eyes not looking, cast the room and snag,
a familiar figure bent in conversation –
the friend lost to marriage.
He is surprised to see me. Too surprised.