If conflict defines us—and I think it does for so many—then what do we do
when a structure opens the way to laughter, or to a reverent moment alone,
or to a place where suspicion smokes elsewhere? What then?
He’s dying. Then again, he never really lived. It’s in his eyes, in the cancerous indifference in
them. That thing in his fingers, cherry-red at its end and glowing in the dark: that’s all that
really matters. And even it, I suspect, doesn’t mean all that much,
like a friend one tired of long ago but who never leaves and is never welcome to.
I was marveling at radiant dust lanes and fiery pinpricks encased like diamonds
in cotton. He saw me standing in the dark across the lane and growled, and then, to ruin my
view, turned on his porchlight. The lanes and diamonds disappeared in the glare.
Want to know the greatest shame? This bit of free-verse will serve as his
only and truest tribute—and his epitaph. He’ll be gone soon—the doctors have quit giving
him chemo—but still he wouldn’t join me.
He doesn’t like me. I don’t hold my life in contempt as he does his.
That makes me weak in his eyes.
What a goddamned fool.
Fractal art: On the Other Side of the War by yours truly