Image by Dovi

WHIMSY

the madrigal, volume iii

Conversing with Friends

by eric lochridge

Up earlier than expected after a late night with friends,

old and new.

Pizza and beer. An array of brews curated, my dear friend

told me, by a mustachioed youth at the grocery.

And conversation, the first good unguarded talks I’ve had
in a long while. Drawing on shared experience, the deep well.

Intrigued by the new folks. New to town, he’s a handyman;

she’s a counselor. Both fixers.

I’m not a particularly clever man. Less easy

to be around in my middle age, I guess.

Nights like this have become fewer. My friendships
have become fewer. Blame busyness. Blame politics. Blame lack

of trying. Contentment. I’ve changed. I’ve stopped
putting stickers on things—car windows, water bottles, laptops.

I’m done air drumming at stop signs; my singing in the car

has ceased. The new U2 album didn’t change my life.

I chased pop art and caught only a patchy gray tail.

But last night buoyed me like the ocean beneath a log.

I felt uprooted, free to float
wherever the conversation flowed, toward whatever beach

I would roll up on. And my friends were there,

heaving me onto the shore with their watery hands.

Eric Lochridge’s debut full-length poetry collection is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press in 2022. He is author of three chapbooks: Born-Again Death Wish, Real Boy Blues, and Father’s Curse. His poems appear in DIAGRAM, Okay Donkey, Kissing Dynamite, Slipstream, and others. He lives in Bellingham, Washington. Find him on Twitter @ericedits.