GHAZAL UPON HEARING OF A MUTUAL FRIEND'S DEATH
Beatriz F. Fernandez
I went back to that pier today where we three met last time—
sipped beer at the Sleepy Pelican— still there after all this time.
Back then the chance to leave the island arrived as a godsend,
but we swore we’d return and reunite in ten years’ time.
How could we have guessed whose star would later ascend,
or foreseen who’d first meet with the freak accidents time
would send? He never made it past forty, he wasn’t able to pretend,
like us, that each birthday meant we’d somehow trumped time’s
stratagems. How did you hear, how were you able to fend
off your own mind’s terrible questions, knowing all the time
that no one loved him the way we did, half-brother, half-friend,
and no one’s around to remember him with, not this time.
Could I swallow the words that ended our friendship, make amends?
Though I know mere words won’t reverse the tides of time,
if I could get word back to you, what message would I send?
Something only you would understand, as you did, once upon a time.
Just remember me the way bees remember, my old friend,
and bring her back home who once gave you joy, now lost in time.
BEATRIZ F. FERNANDEZ is a university reference librarian in Florida. She has read her poetry on WLRN, South Florida’s NPR news station, was the grand prize winner of the second annual Writer’s Digest poetry award, and was featured in the Latina Book Club blog. Her poetry can be found at Boston Literary Magazine, FLARE: the Flagler Review, Northern Liberties Review, Spark: a Creative Anthology, Verse Wisconsin, and Writer’s Digest, among others. She received a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2014 and her poetry chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament, was just published by Finishing Line Press in 2015. Contact her at beasbooks.blogspot.com.