The Friend

In a circle of friends, the one who dies first

is the friend you will never forget:
this is the death that unhinges you
from the trappings of everyday life
and makes you – suddenly – absurdly grateful
for each new breath – beginning with this one.
This is the death that could break you apart
in every way possible; that persuades you –
in memory of that friend – to turn away
from whatever refuses to speak to your heart
from whatever threatens to numb your soul
from whatever it is that revels in death.
Yet this, too, is the friend you need by your side.
Listen. Together they urge you: Live your life.
 – Alice Kavounas (1945-)