Requiem for Guy

After Katrina, we broke
into a FEMA trailer, a haven
filled with burn holes scattered
like little graves. I watched you
wrestle the TV antennae, smiling
because for at least a few hours,
we summoned the soft hum
that sweet-talks bravado off
the brow, sedating our baby-faced
resentments with one another.
What did we know of friendship
but its malice? Once a week
we robbed the first to fall asleep,
reprieved, inevitably, by the need
to forgive the other’s suffering.
This kind of love persists,
watching a man drift from life
into its seam, choking down breath,
maybe in a dream where junkies dance
on a blank slate. We were joyful
when you’d get a call, hopping in
your girlfriend’s car to go somewhere
else & smoke cigarettes till
we had more small pills staring
back from our palms. Today,
one of my students told me,
You’re my guy, but I thought of you
& how many sticky afternoons
we tried to forget our names, handing
them back to God so we could
rest. When I got the call, I knew
He had refused to give yours back.