To Marco, Who Was, But Isn’t

Dear Marco who no longer exists,

I thought of you today as you were

then, listening to emo tunes in your

unlikely white pickup, driving out

to the beach, looking for something,

but not for me. Perhaps for beauty,

but lusting after it rather than

merely admiring it, and, yes, I mean

the abstraction, because I think

the quest for its physical embodiment,

though always present at depth,

emerged from the crashing waves

only after swimming in many wide

circles. But as it surface, the friend

I knew was already drifting farther

out into seas I had no compass for charting.

Since that era, I know we’ve spoken

only once, on the phone, during

your metamorphosis, and then

of practical matters, mundane,

not of life and where it takes us

and how it takes us there, with

our consent or against it.

From this distance,

I hope, of course, that what you

became has given you lasting joy,

not merely a different disappointment,

though the new form I can

barely imagine, having never seen,

though I think you spoke sometimes

of the ideal, and though vaguely

understanding the need for it,

not quite comprehending

the very thing, having never

felt that kind of need myself.

And, no, this is no lament

for some long-lost love—

for we were never lovers,

nor did we wish to be,

and, though friends,

were not the closest of them—

but rather for the way

wheels turn in different directions,

breaking axles apart.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper


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