Old Friends

By Meredith Mason

Like at a wedding you went to once—
the kind that stretches out
over a whole weekend of celebrating
so you end up tossing the Frisbee,
eating brunch, going for a long hike
in the woods, drunken contra-dancing,
strolling through a quaint New England town
sipping lattes. There’s one moment
on the last night in the big house
the couple rented for out-of-town guests,
mostly old college friends, when everything
winds down to silence,
and you know you will never
be together like this again.

You don’t usually get
this kind of graceful moment,
in this case inspired by the bride
sitting on the couch with her knees pulled up
to her chest, wearing the black scarf
with red flowers that she has always worn,
that would only ever look good on her.

Years later it will surprise you, sitting in a big chair
with your two-year-old, reading a book,
listening to him name the animals,
rhino, lion, elephant, the stuffed leopard
who sleeps next to him each night.
How do you explain endangered?
How do you explain extinct? It’s like that.
It’s like that.