[Maybe because]

Maybe because one person in each couple was seriously ill, they became friends. Long dinners together sitting out in one garden or the other. The full moon ritual of walking together to the river. Long pauses that felt more like conversations than actual words. A surprising amount of laughter. I was always the fifth. As if a novelist chronicling their bravery, that almost offhanded poise and strange patience which allowed for wandering conversations about, say, mushrooms. In spring and fall, long rolling fogs. In summer a tangle of bats and swallows near dusk. In winter, a clarity almost beyond endurance.

Jim Moore's Underground: New and Selected Poems was published in September, 2014 by Graywolf Press. He teaches in the MFA program at Hamline University.