To the murmur & strobe of late-night TV, I was drifting
off when you dropped by with a bottle of Windex, Drano
& backpack of old screwdrivers. Even as my bad

alibis snaked around our friendship, you were happy to mash
a bowl of guac & sort earrings with me on the handed
down couch. You got that I’d fallen too far & like a mother

Mastiff instinctively protected me, though I recoiled
from your knocks, & double-locked the door. I’m sorry,
I didn’t know your lungs were a house of scars. I wish

I’d let you help rather than pretend my crazy
artist ex-boyfriend would show up with a clean stretched
canvas. I miss your pluck. The day you assembled

my computer desk single-handedly, laying out separate
pieces on the soft carpet, the smallest parts organized by
numbers, letters, screws & kick plates placed in their separate

bowls. That time you insisted I move in. I won’t
give you time to think about him. We’ll play Scrabble & drive
down the Mendocino coast. Annie, forgive me for shutting

you out, your diagnosis came in the middle of my 13th personal
sinkhole. Seventeen years since your death & still I can
hear you: Get on a schedule, walking will help. Let’s order to-go:

dumplings and Szechwan shrimp from the Lotus Cafe. I was going
to take you up on that trip to the ocean. I thought
there’d always be a time I could reverse course and say yes.