WHAT MEMORY ENDEAVORED//WHEN WE WERE SEVERED
Copyright © 2018 by Marvin Cohen

Jimmy Stagno, my old friend,
when his body failed, he had to bend
and reluctantly face death in the face
and had to give way, his whole being
losing everything including memory,
which was my component, left to me
to do the memory business for us both,
including starting out young, before our growth
accelerated, and now look at us:
He's not there, and I'm there for both,
bearing up a double burden.
He spoke, I heard him.
When I speak, he doesn't heed.
Our friendship made us the same breed.
We ate together. He has no stomach.
It's a one-sided friendship now.
He lies underneath my brow,
or else far within
where the past in its entirety lurks
spread before me, avail it or not.
I'll dip in reluctantly, shot by shot.
The record is all but complete.
To devour us both is a gourmet feat
with tears sprinkled as a side dish
(or maybe saliva, to put sentiment aside,
which doesn't technically spoil the dish).
I pluck him bodily out, like a caught fish.
It slips away. I bungle my only wish.