If I thought about him much,
I'd have wondered if he was alive.
I thought for sure he would end up
at the bottom of some bridge,
having jumped off, or maybe asleep in a box.
He was a friend among other friends,
but the part that I saw
of myself in him, was drowning.
He was wilder, and more dangerous,
and that is saying a lot.
When he left he wasn't turning
from the razor's edge, he was cutting
his way across, one bloody step at a time
like it was the last bridge on earth
across the dark river.
It is strange the currents we choose
and the places we are taken,
thinking we are swept away
in rough tidewater,
unable to swim
or navigate the deluge.
Maybe sometimes we know,
deeply from the mud and the silt,
that the floodplain can scrub
the surface that refuses
to be anything but intolerable.
We were just hoping to come up
someplace for air.
Last night he came up
in a conversation
across The Long Bien Bridge.
He has a new life on dry land,
anchored in the floodplains of Hanoi.
I saw his photographs and I knew.
~ for an old friend who built a fantastic life on the floodplain.