Quickwords Vol. 17 – Toby


Welcome all! This December there’s a lot going on for everyone, and given how everything has been for just about the entire year, it can be easy to forget some of the smaller things. Here’s a poem celebrating a good friend of mine.

A bright red sleeve, on which are several thin, curling strands of white fur. An interior car door lay in the background.

| Toby |

I’ve a brother by no blood
Ages have passed since we’ve spoken
And each reunion is one of joyous calm

Borne of the same year to different mothers
I’ve no memory of our first meeting
Just old photographs of smaller folk
That, under a less understood sky
Once claimed our same names

You’d think there a wolf in him
Always hungry while I would barely eat
The vibrant voice my timid self wasn’t
He could move for hours but I’d be a statue
I saw him go with others and race the wind
But next to me he was the stillness of a lake

What did he, so opposite, see worthy in kinship?
And how did he see it before I did?

No doubt he made better company
Even in playful aggression that came from
A type of love I was stranger to
When cities divided us it took years to remember
The value of that novelty

We visited his family for the first time in long
Bringing gifts of food and fleeting togetherness
As words filled the air and noise every corner
I did the same thing I’ve always done
I wandered off away from commencement

There he was, now quiet among the noise
Time had served to calm him in how it always had me
His hair was too long, same as mine
Our eyes were both tired from the weight of many things
Though I wore new mask and coiffure
He knew me in seconds
Gentle excitement sprang through his feet
He wound wistfully around my legs
Nuzzling into the hand I lowered
To scratch him behind the ear

When our families bade goodbye
I offered some parting pets
Then gave salutations to relatives of every brood
I took a final glance at my old friend prancing in the backyard
I pondered the months and years
How they would treat him
Well, I hope

Our car hummed across the highway
I sat in the right passenger seat as I always had
And picked white fur off of my sleeve

I’ve a brother by no blood
Ages will pass till we speak again
And the reunion will be one of joyous calm

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