Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2022  Vol. 21  No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Time Spent

Three months ago, I showed my friend a trick
to light charcoal without a chimney. He was cooking
meat on the grill for a party. It was summer.
I’d laid the patties on the grill and said, see
how the blood wells on top of the meat,
how the flames reach from the charcoal for the blood
like a need, that’s when I like to flip the patties.
We’re told we’re bonding when we spend time
with our friends, but what to make
of my friend’s memories in which my face goes
missing? I assemble the scene around myself
until he finds me. We kept flipping the meat onto the ground,
he says, but I’d only been watching. Embarrassed,
he’d asked another of his friends why he couldn’t
remember me. Something about how he asserts
himself, his friend said, not knowing. One night,
my friend and I were walking back
from workshop. He turned to me and said,
if the day comes when I’m old and my mind
starts going, just pull the plug on me. Okay, I said,
not really committing to anything so drastic
that’s brought about in passing, not while
we’re both young, anyway, but still, I wanted
to ask what about any of it had him convinced
that out of everyone, I’d even be so close.
We’d never make it that far.  

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