Three Forms, One Frame

This is a poem to Jon, my true friend,

To a vagrant like me, a road on which to end,

A beachfront retreat without fence or police.

Against my gusts and drops and shouting hail,

He stood, anchored, like a bastion, laughing—

Silent, shoulders bobbing, drool slathering his chin;

His stomach, eyes, face, and dignity all puckered.

And when my rains battered his laugh, he guffawed,

Until my winds died down and my own shoulders bobbed.

When, as it does, the tide pulled him to sea,

I wandered a year until home returned,

Not Jon but Jon infixed with an ‘h,’ with a different voice and face—

Perhaps different in form but with the same frame.

Wide windows replaced the self-portraits I hang

(I threw a few out because of mustaches he’d paint),

Adorning the air with pine forests, salt, and waves,

Until he left again, as before.

But a model had been made from his frame, which became

Mysti, my wife, my home until hospice,

Not the first Jon or the second John but the last.

Prior to this, I hadn’t attempted poetry in years. And unlike wine, my craft has not aged well. It’s more like this morning’s coffee. In an earlier draft, the succubuses (I have heard “subbubi” is outdated) Rhyme and Rhythm seduced me. But for lack of mastery, I sacrificed English to please them. Only after some pointed, but appropriate, criticism, did I realize my mistake. I have since removed those lines, which seems to have helped.

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