He heard of the death of his friend today,
Her husband called to tell him she was gone,
He, the man who'd barely known her at all
And who had always made it clear he hated him
Because of certain unspeakable intimacies
They had shared before he knew her.
And yet he stood there, half a world away,
Immersed in a vivid vision of them
As they strolled along one summer afternoon
Through dense cool woods of towering pine,
Not knowing why that ordinary day chose
To swim up through the oceans of his mind
Or why in those moments he so despised her,
Hated her for making him love the rhyme
Her walk had made with the swinging of her arms
And the hard, tenacious sparkle in her eyes
That shone through the duskiness of laughter;
Nor did he have the power left the realize
Why after he replaced the phone he raged
Against her as though she'd been with him
That summer day only so he'd feel the pain
Of watching her walk on past and turn her eyes
Toward distant ranges full of dreadful light
As he heard her dusky laughter fade to night.