We’d been school friends,
good friends when we were younger,
had liked the same books, games and people.
The high school years saw a divergence of interests
a dilution of closeness
but still talked regularly –
speaking of our football teams
opinions of teachers
and prospects with girls.
No topic was taboo, except his brother,
who was bigger and stronger and beat me up once.
His mother died two years after high school
mine saw the notice and told me.
I attended her service thinking it appropriate,
a gesture he would appreciate.
His brother was there of course
bearded and dressed in black, but
not funeral black.
I went to speak to him – to offer sympathy
before I could extend my hand, he turned away.