I’m sure you have them, too,
Those clips of memory
That seem so random,
That begin in the middle
And stop without resolution,
Without concluding titles,
The camera panning right,
The fading music.

Odd how these memories play,
Vanish, reappear from nowhere,
Or maybe somewhere,
That’s the puzzle,
Trying again to get your attention,
Like a friend with a story
That matters to him
But you can’t sort out,
Not because it’s unimportant
But because you can’t find
Your place in it,
You can’t figure out
Why he thinks
It’s your story, too.

And so there she is,
Time and time again,
My beloved friend, smart,
Quick to smile and to ask
Questions that make me think,
Her gray hair wild in crazy ringlets,
Half-wiped tears smeared across her cheeks
As she introduces me to the cat
She’s just learned is going to die,
Soon, that night probably,
In her arms, in her care,
While they whisper
To each other
From their secret lexicon.

Over and over, it plays.
And when it returns I always ask:
Why is this mine?

I always ask because
That is how this works.

The rules of the universe
Are that I must pretend
I do not know.

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