My best friend is a prism.
It’s almost a party trick.
Have her walk into any room
and she’ll find the light where
it’s creeping through a windowsill
and bend it into rainbows
that bounce off the walls,
so you can almost hear the shimmer.
People blink and shield their eyes,
and I smile as in the usual way,
someone approaches her –
probably someone who gave up on rainbows
when they were very young,
and is now wondering if they could be more
than just a childish dream.
My best friend is a jungle queen.
In the treetops with a skirt
made of palm fronds,
she twists vines around her arms
and mixes her own paint,
trying to match the colours of the parrots
and cockatoos and birds of paradise
at her elbows.
She draws vivid peace stripes on her cheeks
then kneels to adorn the faces
of her adopted babies,
child after child with matted hair
and eyes that have seen too much,
taken under her expansive, feathery wings.
My best friend is an elderly monk.
On the mountaintop of her mind,
she sits in simple white-green robes,
listening to the roll of her breath
and the wind, uniting them.
She forgets herself up there,
sighs in her personal bliss,
then starts the slow descent
back to earth,
back to toil and pain and lost socks,
back for the rest of us.
But best of all, my friend is
the keeper of my most private memories,
a golden birdcage with wide-set bars
in which I’ve placed the shyest butterflies
of my soul, and where I know they are safe.
For the rest of my life, when she laughs,
I’ll feel thirteen again,
and recall the summers of pizza pretzels
and slurpees and 5-cent candies
in brown paper bags,
weekends of movies in our parents’ basements
and stories about boys
and confusing thoughts about girls.
When she laughs I’m reminded
that no matter what,
there will be movies under blankets
and sugar-induced brain freezes
and jokes only the two of us will understand,
jokes that make me think for a moment
we are still that young
and life is still that simple.
P.S. If you like, check out my Etsy store and support The Humane League!