My friend spoke of his life
in the most ordinary terms.
His wife is dying.
Her presence is an empty chair.
He talks of relatives and politics.
The edge of his heart is cool.
His hands grope with his tea.
The comaraderie of a restaurant,
meaningless pictures on the wall,
large windows that let me see faces passing.
A beautiful blond woman goes by,
somewhere between youth and age,
passing through the air of early autumn.
the dust of summer gone.
like her face full of transparency,
a complexion of pink and gold.
My friend looks into the room.
We share only partial things.
I am waiting, he says,
and I glance at the enclosure
of red rug and brown tables,
to conversation by the wall.
He speaks with the plainness of a barren hill.
Where are the flowers?
Where are the moments of spring?
He has no place to go.
He is waiting,
not for a bus, a plane, a boat.
He harbors a life breaking,
going off out of control.
I tell him, lets meet more often
and he nods.
Lets talk of relatives and politics,
Lets look out the window at rain and snow.
I’ll watch the people passing
and there’ll be no more waiting,
just conversation and an empty chair.