a friend in weakened light

we sat for hours,
in squares of light
the weak blue of skim milk --
over coffee in the morning,
beer in the evening,
dinner at night.

his monologue of heartbreak
would not end.

the love of his life
had kicked him
to the curb --

a writing table,
a stereo, a coffee maker,
and a set of towels

were all he could
summon the energy to take.

It is three years later;
he has not mended.

He had thought of suicide --
said he looked into buying
a gun,

then told himself:
Ah, the hell with it.
Too much work.

i spent two days
with him.
We warmed
our hands
at the hearth
of his melancholy.
i spoke
when he asked me to.

At the end of our visit,
he hugged me --
we trembled with the
force of the embrace,
ribs touching,
breath held --
a couple of slaps
on the back,
the way men will.

As i drove away,
there was snow in the hills,
fog in the valley.

On the branches of
the hemlock,
drops of indecisive ice
paused in mid-melt
to consider what had passed,
and to refract the
of our friendship
back into
the healing heavens.

--Mr. Gobley

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