With Friend

There was a time
I used to walk down your street with naked feet
counting my steps in each cement square
avoiding beached worms
shipwrecked along the pavement from the rain
the night before;
I picked dandelions for you as
I went.

And you were there-
leaning over the fire escape railing
like a melting ice cream cone,
twelve haphazard stories up.

You would call my name,
your voice tumbling like
a Yo-Yo down the dirty bricks
between us.

You used to toss me down the cellar key
where it would flash in the sun like
the faint glimmer of gnats around the streetlights
in the summer;
I would catch it and come in through
the basement.

I ran up twelve gray flight of stairs
past cold closed doors and
teenagers curved over pay phones like
question marks,
you smiled like a toasting marshmallow
at my handful of crushed dandelions,
my face pink and breath catching like
a fish hook.

Out in the real world,
we rolled up our jeans to the knees
and dangled dirty feet over the edge of the pool
scooping trapped newts out of the filter
and tossing them over the fence
into the neighbors yard.

It was there that you told me that,
someday,
you would marry me;
looked clear into my eyes,
your pink boy's face bearded with
pomegranate stains,
dirt beneath your fingernails.

I held your hand and swung my feet,
and then we built mud pies and
left pennies on the train tracks to be crushed
for our collection.

Afterward we lay on the lawn to watch the stars bloom
out of the velvet wake of the setting sun,
and I thought-

of a barefoot wedding by the lake
with a thousand candles hanging from the trees
to the boy who built me Lego ships
and carved our names
into the picnic bench at the park;
he lived in the apartment down the street.

We used to laugh;
the corners of our eyes laid thin
like a knife upon the windowsill to show
a friend sits with a friend here.





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