She writes me of Death's impending
trip through her doorway, this woman,
this once girl-woman, my old roomie.
She has prepared her Will, settled
her affairs; she's ready, she tells me.
I never expected this in my fifties,.
Wrinkles, gray hair. Not this..these losses,
she cried, when ovarian slowly etched flesh
from her sister's pale, rising bones.
During our poverty-stricken graduate school
years, we stuffed extra rolls into our bags
for next morning's breakfast, wore cheap
jeans, blouses and sweaters with frayed seams.
We danced, loved, crammed till well after midnight,
giggled, cried, told each other secrets, but
my friends are slowly slipping away.
I press them into the bed of my memories,
like a corsage of colorful flowers, saved
when the big dance is finally over.
for Ella Ruth, Malley, Sandra, Skeet, Don, Carlton, Dale, and most of all, right now, for Pat.