It is a bad habit to appraise one's friends with the eyes of one taking leave of them forever. Worse still to be compelled to imagine what they will say to each other, once it has come to pass, concerning one's imminent death. --Christa Wolf
The circumstances of our lives
are the least important thing about us.
Still I am compelled to ask
where you are, how you are,
what you do, whom you love
if you still live
where your haunts are,
where your thoughts are.
It occurs to me that you
don't deserve my concern
after so much empty space and time,
certainly, monotonous time lost wondering
what has inevitably happened to you
without answers, without participation
I would drop it all together,
leave it to chance alone -- our false,
timid intimacy --
except for one thing:
This separation may be final.
We may not appear
suddenly after some years, as before --
again in the same region
ready to haunt and understand
each other incompletely.
your silence may be your unwillingness
to do that anymore
that's all right
and all wrong
both with consequences
How casually you cast off friends!
I have personally wanted more future
to dispel anger and show forgiveness
driven this way toward ideal friendships
I am bound to be haunted by you --
and this is the greatest unkindness --
you know this about me, my tendency
to fixate and never unbind
connections of the greatest and most
I am not suited to forgetfulness
With what tenacity
that could move bridges if it were physical,
I have anchored on you,
my favorite sinking ship
You were never so clear as in your absence
I waste myself this way,
choking over the past.
You are the last one to settle
All the others -- the grave stones
marked at last -- solved,
all useless to me now, ordinary
memories that don't make
This is why he and I
will last forever
my first clearly permanent bond:
we don't want anything.
What a freedom that is
for one year, mates who want nothing
that can be gotten from the other
or held back
to be so clean and unused
Love? I love him until it is absurd
and never forbidden
(how lucky that is)
I don't want any other person
To dangerously recant
what I've learned to a canyon --
you, who couldn't care, who
the ungiving -- the tenth ungiving
how sharp. how personal.
public exposure -- all I've ever wanted --
Why would I want you to feel guilty?
I only want to know if you do
and how stupid that wanting is.
There are futures for us that are
immediate and unattainable
perfect as death.
(Ann Bogle, fall 1984)