what passes for friendship
a wave from a neighbour
the one you didn’t know
wakes up yelling in the middle of the night
because sarge just lost her left leg
to an ied, for what seems like the millionth time

or is that too romantic
maybe she just lies awake lonely at night
comforting herself with rum and coke,
does anyone drink rum and coke anymore

what passes for friendship
is it a smile and a kind word
when all you want is that pizza
and get the hell out of here
because that twelve year old is standing too close
and who knows what he picked up at school
but he doesn’t care
he just wants pizza, like you do

should have had it delivered
but the same man has shown up at the door
twice now
i know he’s a russian from ukraine

what passes for friendship
he called me by my name
we’ve never met but he knows my name
makes a point to use it too
that’s what they taught him to do
in that webinar on how to be a successful entrepreneur
never miss a moment to sell
never miss a moment to connect

so many faces that i know
the moment i see them
looking for something
for money, for a return customer

what passes for friendship
when times are hard
and you’re stuck in a cabin
in winter, on the shores of grand lake
waiting for the snows to melt
and the floods to make the lake
twice it’s normal size

i cared about you
i think of you often
i have a picture of you on the wall
i place candles in front of it

until the soot blackens it
and i write “friend” in it
with my index finger,
the finger that i can’t hold still
the finger of blame.

what passes for friendship
i don’t know
but i’m sure what i know about you
is mostly guesswork and storytelling

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