I used to watch you clucking your skewed way toward routine danger –
two brutal daily stabs if the cash could be accrued —
felt like crying, yet ate up the sight of you,
hungry for a clue that something had changed.
I waited for a glance, maybe a wave —
but, blind to these stale-lemonade eyes that filtered rainbows from my life,
you strode toward a spiral destiny, as if hell-bent,
your sagging clothes a locomotion of holes,
displaying scraped parchment, stretched thin over sharp bones.
Was that really you, and was it so recent?
Seems no more than a bad dream
that left me weeping,
long, long ago.
The streets hold no echo of your desperate trips.
Shamed alleys contain no ghost of your guilty visits;
so brief and so frequent, with whispered exchange…
and though I hanker to see your face,
I am glad you are safe, and far out of range.
Each moment spent with you feeds into my memory;
I soak up your words, to keep ’til I see you again.
They murmer as I go to sleep, raise me as I wake,
speak to me in the silence of work, and aid sweet meditation.
Your very being gleams as you speak of where you have been,
what you have seen, done, will do, and will become,
days became weeks, soon to be months, each one noble and clean.
My heart rises as you share your love of life,
and meets yours when you say you love me.
You have burnt the empty coffin of an abandoned destiny,
kicked away the ashes, that they may nourish healthy seed,
thrown away all you don’t need, embraced wise selectivity,
and set your spirit free.
May the hills you climb rise gently to welcome each brave step,
and when you reach the apex, may you gaze upon a calm sea.
©Jane Paterson Basil