Old Friends Hike Up The Mountain And Back Down

Hardest work of all in all of this,

he said while gesturing at
our world below this cliff
we’d climbed for what we suspected
would be the last time we’d have together,
his lean arm stretching
to arc over the panorama
of mostly autumn forest
with here and there
a spot of town peeping through,

the hardest work I’ve found in all of this,
in looking upon all of this so late in
my struggle to leave something behind
of value to all,

is to accept that one thing
I cannot help leaving behind
is bad memories of who I was
in so many. Even if you convince me
it’s not as many as I think.
Even if you convince me that
those memories will dissolve
in the good I’ve done. Even if
you convince me that
even the bad memories
add some value — no,

I cannot accept it.
I will leave unresolved debts
with those I have harmed,
no matter how long ago —

hard work notwithstanding,
I will leave some behind
to whom I owed better than I gave
and those debts will be my truest legacy.

I reached out to touch his arm,
to reassure one of us at least
that he’d been a good man,
mostly, but by then
he was beyond touch
and reassurance and as we
started back down the trail
to our car, I could feel
my own debts massing
not far away, waiting to gnaw me
in the same darkness
into which he’d just flung himself.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

One response to “Old Friends Hike Up The Mountain And Back Down

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