Faces as fresh as memories of
a mistake made in front of a crowd.
Grip as firm as the pommel
on a saddle or a sword.
A smile fast as a bleeding heart
tumbles to the floor.
Friendly — what’s friendly?
Do we embrace now,
punch each other’s shoulders?
What do we do now, old buddy?
We’ve not seen each other
since high school, or a year or two later
at Billy’s Pub, or the Station Tavern;
who knows, some other local bar. Are we still
drunk on that old beer? Are we still
afraid to admit our entire relationship
was alphabetical, based on twelve years’
of classroom seating charts? That we
don’t know each other, really?
That we never did?
Let it be shoulders then. Then let us turn,
in pain, separately back to the bar.