Keo’s poem

by Jess

My friend Keo asked me to write him a poem for his birthday.  It’s been a long time since I’ve tried my hand at verse, but I gave it a shot, and I think the final product isn’t half bad.  I thought I’d share it with you:

Everything changes.  Seasons flow like water
one into the outstretched hands of the next —
coffee grows tepid, then cold, in an unattended mug —
childhood cedes to the onslaught of mortgage
payments, shift work, consequences.

But there are some constants — beads on the chain
of our lives holding us together, linking us one to each other,
one moment to the next, one memory to eternity.
You are one of those — a north star around which
the universe is destroyed and remade each night.

Laconic, opinionated, an imaginative gourmand —
your recipes for scramcakes and spirits are not
for the faint-hearted — you prize your friendships
like precious treasures, keep them close to your heart,
hold them as tenderly as you cradle a baby.

When I met you, you were sleeping — no surprise there —
upright on a couch in my in-laws’ basement, your long hair
curling over your eyes.  You liked me from the start,
and said so, never one to pull punches, your big bear hug
as fierce then as it was when you said goodbye.

Everything has changed — the wedding, the baby,
the continent that now stretches between us.
It may be snowing here, or the leaves are turning,
while perhaps you walk along a black-sand beach.
But that doesn’t change anything.