56. old friend.
Christ ! I say to myself,
he’s not wearing well
as we advance towards each other,
two outstretched hands
about to meet again
after aeons apart.
I don’t know the last time I saw him,
must be twenty, maybe thirty
and his name…
his name… it’s almost there,
but just look at that belly,
& that waddle, those heavy jowls.
Christ, he’s let himself go
and then some –
but he is smiling, though, as am I,
in joint recognition, maybe,
of past memories & happier times….
I don’t know, though,
I console myself,
I am happy now, in myself, in my skin,
but that idiotic lop-sided grin of his
would curdle milk, I chuckle,
& I am quietly
mentally patting myself on the back
– fairly trim, well-groomed & worldly wise
(if I say so myself),
when the horror hits home
like an exocet missile
that the grinning feeble fool ahead
is none other than my own reflection
in the dark shop window.