By Vita Forest
You sat grim-faced in the sunshine
Facing away from the view.
You gave updates on
Your friend’s illness,
Her husband’s wavering mind,
Their fragile son,
Their absent daughter.
Your voice rose in indignation
Your neighbour’s arthritis,
The manager’s incompetence,
The man who talks too loud,
The woman who is so fussy,
The friend who is always stopping by
Right on dinner.
Look at the boats on the river
The white triangles of the sails – see how they shine!
Sammie turning cartwheels on the grass
The dog snuffling at our feet.
Rosa says she couldn’t go away, you say
Too many bookings to look after the grandkids
Couldn’t possibly manage it,
She could just say No!
Does she even want to go?
And Thea in that big house
will have to sell.
If she isn’t stressed now
She should be.
But you are healthy and Rosa too
and Rosa’s husband
You can still do what you like.
Yes my foot is better
Yes I saw the sails
And the rain has stopped falling, But
Did you know? Did I tell you?
Your childhood friend
That laughing boy
Dead. Dead now.
Alcohol. Drugs. Divorce. Hadn’t seen his kids in
Moved back in with his Mum – no friends
No I hadn’t heard.
A glint of triumph
I am silenced remembering that freckled boy.
Then Sammie comes and leans against me
slings her arm across my shoulder
blows a butterfly-kiss on my earlobe
and the sails still shine in the sun
and the wind breathes its warm breath on my cheek.