My best friend was a clown.
A permanently painted on smile,
and a trick camera
that squirted pure joy
at people and Peeps and assorted props.
So many bad puns,
and dad jokes for days.
We laughed at the darkness together.
My best friend was a strongman.
He held the weight of a too heavy world.
He carried his torturous trauma
like a flaming torch,
and he used it to light up the darkness
and for everyone else he ever met.
My best friend was a sorcerer
He turned catastrophe into compassion,
terrifying tragedy into triumph,
dark deadly flames into forgiveness,
bottomless grief into boundless gratitude.
He generously paid it all forward,
even when his pockets were empty.
My best friend was the conductor
of a wild roller coaster ride.
The ups and downs,
thrills and chills,
highs and lows.
Twisting us through dark tunnels and expelling us, at once, into the daylight.
He promised me the ride would never end.
My best friend was my neighborhood.
Slate sidewalks and cobblestone streets,
the playground in the park.
The alleys and the trolley cars,
the counter at the sweet shop.
Cherry blossom cathedral, sacred heart.
I could spot him in the darkness down the block-
by the flip of his hair, the spring in his step.
My best friend was my history.
He held my teenage years in his hands
and kindly kept my secrets.
He softly shared my shame, until I was strong enough to speak it.
He loved me for my darkness because he was damaged enough to see it.
He buoyed me, kept me afloat, while I saved him from drowning.
My best friend was an explorer.
Traveling through this wicked world
in the pursuit of happiness and healing.
Taking big bold steps into the dimly lit places,
uncovering relics and collecting detritus, bit by bit.
But when he began the unpacking, he began unraveling.
He lost his way in the shadows, and momentarily misplaced his torch.
He stepped too deep into the darkness.
Now, my best friend is gone.
Our shadows on the Summer Solstice 2020