Michael Smith


Best Old Friends

Here is an open door, a smile, handshake, and hug
Another couple, Another, more
Before we’re all here there’s two conversations going on
In one ear and in the other
The swish of leather, and the rustle of compliments
Unwrapped like coats, draped over chairs
The table is too big to hear, too long to see
And not Everyone could make it, even.
Miscounts, reservations, ten or twelve?
Names like bells, checklists of missing, excuses.
And still, everyone is here, it feels.
Ordering, comparing, debating even, the menu.
With shining eyes and sparkling smiles the conversations resume.
That were never left off
New jobs, automobiles, vacations
Luggage, pets, weddings and houses
Children, and not children, yet.
Friends who have moved away
The latest catastrophe, and exultation
New dates, distant places, the stories and laughter
And everything beyond our table disappears.
Eyes sparkle like reflections of our own admiration
Encircle our friends within our lives here now
Appetizers have been nibbled, meals eaten between breaths.
Dessert was a story, that developed into a joke
That recalled another old joke, and laughter in shrieks
Wiping eyes, our jaws sore from eating
so many smiles
Plates are cleared, the last spill wiped away, and the check is brought
Augued over, divided up, accounted for, and calculated. Money is the End of Everything
But only as a side conversation.
Talk is resumed, coffee stirred, assent nodded, stories retold, and again.
The restaurant is empty, the waitress gone, the bar closing- And we must leave?
But the going is slow.
There is talk in the parking lot
Stars and comets, full moons, and next meetings
Hugs are returned, and smiles exchanged
Promises and dates are arranged.
Finally, only two are left, talking
The quiet ones. They sat at opposite ends, listening, enjoying
After the cars are gone, the cooks have left, bedtimes passed
They promise to meet again soon, and become best old friends, again.