I sit on this chair, bowed,
resting forearms on knees, hands clasped,
staring at a shadow, my shadow, draped over drab berber.
A soft fluorescent overhead bathes all.
My outline is box and triangle, fingers a steeple,
resembling no man
yet definitively me.
A representation without true form,
no sign of leg and leg, arm and arm, head and torso.
No useful hint of true me.
As good a help as blind men and their elephant.
I am a wall. I am a tree. I am a rope. I am a spear.
I am at a funeral.
Faded friend. Product of youth.
You are indistinct now
Our tie was hidden,
was weighted in unmentioned strength,
spurred from unnumbered words, where
we burned nights in frenzied mirth.
Your secret burden,
erected without hand,
punctuated by a single soft-metal slug,
is now forever between us, a wall
like Jericho's they will never shout down.
How do I judge this exit,
your end made in error,
your brutal beatitude left for posterity?
Recollection red – not rose-colored –
hangs like contrails in the sky,
viewed by all, and so cheapened.
Your final moments are a stain on a carpet.
Perhaps one day I will know you
not as I know you now.
Time will erase this horror
and concede discernment.
This poem I write,
of friend and companion,
I will finish it then.