He was never articulate,
educated yet unimaginative.
He knows this.
He knows I know this.
It is not that I expect poetry
over prose. I am the writer
between the two.
It is an old anxiety
only recently resurfaced.
He does not write to me.
Instead he sends me sketches.
One of coffee in a paper cup,
planes in the background through large
One of the rails of a balcony with a
river rushing below.
One of me, lip bite and eyes shining
as I watched him go.
His words are simple,
“I miss you” and “thank you.”
In my letters,
I ask him about the weather,
he sketches the rain on the window.
I ask him if he is keeping busy,
he sketches a sketch of him sketching
within a sketch of him sketching.
I ask him if he’s lonely,
he sketches my face among the rumpled
blankets of morning, sun streaking
from the windows behind me.
He sketches two children playing
invisible violins and reading each other’s palms.
Her ghost does not haunt these pictures,
and I wonder where he keeps her now.
If her wrapped body still
hangs heavy in his hands,
if the slideshow in his mind
still flashes on her crumpled body.
If he still blames himself
for being moments too late.
I know he does.
I ask him if he had forgiven himself,
he sketches houses rebuilt and clear skies.
In a moment of weakness,
I ask him if I will ever see him again.
To this he replies with words,
hand scrawled and sloppy,
“I count the days, my dearest friend.”