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The only one awake

on a spring morning in Wellesley, half a life ago,
I tiptoed over three sleeping bags
stuffed with my dearest friends – their eyelids
fluttering sweet dreams – on my way to walk
in the cool dew on quiet lawns and tennis courts.

Now Cynthia calls from Richmond,
leaves a message that she’s looking
for the first job other than raising kids
she’s had in seven years.
Ed’s letter from grad school starts with small talk,
ends with an outcry of surprise, “I hate it here.”
Janet emails that she hasn’t written
these two years because she’s mostly
looking out the window at the Adirondacks.
One of her friends chose to die who didn’t have to,
and a few weeks later
another had to die who didn’t choose to.

On this spring morning in Cincinnati,
I wish my friends were sprawled again
on my apartment floor, mumbling,
stirring in their sleep, warm, tousled,
while I walked in stocking feet between two worlds,

as if I could always protect them.

all rights reserved Josephine Bridges ©2012-2013