For Natanya

I remember sitting smoking, incense
Rising, you smiling as we watched tendrils
Weave like dragon tails through summer evening sun
To disperse amongst prayer flags. Listening
To an album burned on vinyl CD until the boy
Started strumming his guitar.
You smiled that secret you’d whispered to me of him
And we three sat pow-wow on the same small mattress.
I set my crush aside, watched smile and eyes grow wide
Into that musical improvisation.
You were hooked.

Early mornings at the Smiler with two grumpy gruff boys
Tired from late nights, but you kept us on our feet.
Chopping onions with scuba masks to stave
Off tears you seemed immune to. Your smile again.
Laughing silent at the rings around our faces.
Pushing through for a pumpkin quesadilla
Despite the bickering. True now as he said it then,
“I got nothin but love for ya, Natanya.”
What a team.

Bright Eyes at the Showbox. Just you and me
This time. Chinese food and gin obscure
What I wish I remembered better.
Crammed in a photo booth for the best
Shoot of my life. Though we could cut and paste
The best face from each and have a nice pic,
I prefer the silly smiling memories.

Grasping for clarity from fuzzy memories.
A night of too much indulgence. My birthday?
You over did it and paled,
Turned as white as it. Despite it
And our addled minds we jumped
Up speeding to the hospital.
First time you had me worried, realizing
We must be careful.
Can’t be reckless.

Years pass and we lose touch.
Whispered warnings and words misunderstood
Hint at a picture fading. Floundering while I’m
Wishing for more island time and some new memories.
Missing friends and wanting more adventures,
One last chance to climb in that one working window
To sputter to the bluff in a bleak Volvo.

A gathering of friends and familiar faces.
Somber reason but elated spirit. Your smile
The same despite the pain in evidence. Happy to see
Everyone gathered there to celebrate for you.
Relieving my missing feeling.
The last time I saw you.

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