Remember when (A poem)

I am giving myself a theme for February: epistles. This particular poem is for my friend Yumi, who died of cancer in September 2014.

It’s been a year now
since I learned
you’d gone for good

Until then, I held out hope
I’d hear from you again

All those years of travelling
never brought you back my way
I did feel disappointed
but I knew life gets in the way

Unexpected things happen
priorities shift
and we find ourselves going places
far from where we wanted to go

Once that led me back home
a temporary escape from demons within
refuge that failed to bring me peace
or ease the longing

Remember when we kissed that August night?
I used to think about it from time to time
I still can’t believe that was me
I still can’t believe you let me

Yet it was merely an episode
a story to be told
on a ‘remember when’ night

The last time I saw you
it was this time of year
winter coats and bare trees
posing for pictures in the quad

Ten years have passed
since your last brief note
You were getting ready to move
things were about to change

Before long, my letters were coming back
marked ‘recipient unknown’
I was confused by your silence

Still, I held out hope
I’d hear from you again

It feels strange
to think of you as gone
with not even the slimmest chance
of seeing you again

You brought me smiles and laughter
and playful adventure
If I never have that again
I had it with you

I’m almost relieved
we never got to say goodbye
I know we won’t meet again
but I can remember when

(1 February 2016)