She turned to me one night as if to say:
“I know.” And though I waited for her words as we
Walked along the outside path of cobblestones
And grass, her eyes instead made effort to
Explain her inner thoughts and fears.
Pain, I knew she’d meant to share aloud.
Had now the briefest moment stopped her mouth.
And as if in protest of this sudden lapse.
Her face made plain the meaning now
And led her hand to reach for mine.
Once touched, her words then followed
As though she broke a spell. “But time,” she said,
“Makes worse the grief once suffered. Don’t you think?”
I nodded only, likewise wordless
Before the honest question of her gaze.
Death was less a stranger to her life than mine.
It left with her the mark of wisdom without age.
Such was our sometime conversation when last I saw my friend.
At first time’s meeting, only envy did I know
For others there had held her hands before.
As friends, as suitors or special relatives.
But my belated presence was an awkward one.
Seeming out of place, and knowing only
Welcome through her undivided patience
When she agreed to meet alone.
Then she seemed to ease her voice
As though she knew she could relax.
But if this she ever said, then my words are
Wasted breath, for despite my protestations
No love she ever spoke, but showed instead in silent ways.
And I alas, knew not because my eyes
Were blind, my ears were deaf with pride.
But I may as well have lost my sight
To have missed what she bespoke in deed and smile.
Months gone by, alone I dwell and sit before my paper
And my pen. I try to say I knew, I really knew.
She always had.