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Marsha Lee Recknagel

A Friend

Inseparable, they called us,

and we were.

Through school we were like

eccentric actresses,


our moods found no mediums

only extremes

like all young girls changing,


like a snake must be seeing his old

skin lying lifeless

next to him.


We grew together so long

we finally grew apart.

I, going off to school,

You, going crazy.

Your letters to me,

strange ranting.

The familiar squiggly writing

by some unknown hand

guiding what once was Jane.

Lives no longer rhyming,

awkward in our new roles.


I was busy trying to

untangle us.

You confident in your insanity,

me, unsure of mine.

They wrote me long letters

explaining you to me.

Locked you up, a part of me,

in a cold white hospital.

I cried for both of us.

Because I knew

you were only laughing.


You seemed so harsh

in your freshness,

smelling of cornflakes,

sweet hay drying in fields.

Basking in a flood of sunshine

I wilted.

Dust got into my life,

Between my teeth, in my eyes,

Settling into a film of silt

on the top of my water glass.

You seemed so young, in a hurry,

Mocking me for my slow manner, soft drawl.

I was a stranger among cowboys

wearing shiny boots, red kerchiefs

lassoing long hairs Saturday nights.

Your Indians, not tall, proud,

like Geronimo on a Cheerio box

but stumpy, with pimples and squinting eyes.

You were to be my escape

from the cobweb world of large white houses

nigger maids.

I traveled your boundaries

But found that you were only a state

Not a visa to happiness.

So I left you.

Now I’m still searching,

Journeying within different borders,

Wandering, still restless, within myself.

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