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There you stand, sipping coffee, in solitude
While the world flows around you, unheeding.
A year ago I would have approached you --
Last month I would have nodded, waved, but
Today I passed you by, more alien than a stranger --
One who used to know you well.
The awkward, unacknowledged recognition
As we find each other side by side,
A strained parody of ourselves,
Is sad enough to be funny
And funny enough to be sad.
I thought we were moving in the same direction,
But the undercurrents carried us apart, unseen,
Until I could no longer recognize you
In the distance.
How have the rushing floods eroded
Edges that used to interlock
To form them into barriers?

I wonder if you'd see me smile,
Across the gulf that separates us
Even as we travel side by side,
But neither of us ever dared to look.
So we float along, drifters,
Until another wave comes to take you away.

Kathleen Walsh


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