The night Rudy left for the navy,

the cold wind made everything

the four of us said and did in there,

all those promises,

all that laughter,

all those jazz riffs and booze,

all those society girls

we added to our string,

made it just what Garcia foresaw

when he turned in the snowfall,

his face a blur in those frozen ashes,

shouting a prophecy that echoed forward

into all our other winters:

“Ain’t shit, man, none of this stuff.

Ain’t meant to be, guys like us.”

I battled most my life

to prove him wrong,

driven by the image of the four of us

staggering away from each other

in our long black trench coats,

certain our remaining nights on this planet

wouldn’t be remarkable or many,

squandering what we didn’t have,

leaving our best behind.


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