The wake was held at your family diner;
I helped you move stuff around. The huge chest of drawers
Went upstairs, where it blocked the restrooms.
I was going to tell you
We had to do something about that.
I planned the service carefully:
Who would speak and when.
But when I returned from an errand,
You had changed everything.
Now only I spoke.
You and your wife and your mother and friends
Stood around me as I circled
And ad-libbed about our meeting and relationship
And how social media kept us in touch.
They listened and smiled.
I was the center of attention,
But you were the subject of affection.
Now I’m at work, and a woman I used to know
Approaches and asks me to drive her home.
I ask where she lives.
She says in Independence.
That’s quite a drive, but I say yes
So I can get to know her.
I haven’t seen her in decades.
We grew up together.
She gave me my first kiss — when we were five.
When I was 15, I dreamed we had sex.
At 18, we went to a concert, but she was with friends
And I was with my brother. I saw her
From several rows back.
Now here she is with dyed pink hair
And calling herself Pinky and she doesn’t drive.
There’s a story there, and I want to hear it,
But I also have tutees to take care of.
I tell them I will drop Pinky off and come back for them.
When they balk, I agree to take them with us.
My ride with Pinky won’t be private,
But at least I will spend time with her.
So we gather at the appointed time
Outside my friend’s diner
So he can join us on the road,
But he is nowhere to be found.
I go inside to look for him
And have to climb a row of vertical steps
To reach the dining floor. A kind woman
Gives me a push so I can make it.
At the top, a line of people wait to buy tickets
For a show. We will never make it to Independence
At this rate. I pop into the office
And find two teens running the show.
I ask where’s Mike.
They tell me Mike doesn’t work here anymore.
I find that odd since he’s the owner.