Prize Poetry

My Confidant

by a man, age 60

No one knew but you.
No one seemed to care but you.
When I first saw you, I knew I could say things and I’d be alright
Because no one but you would know.
I would tell you my hurts, my fears
and all those things he did to me that I didn’t understand.

You didn’t tell me to stop talking
or to go away
or that you were too busy to listen.

You sat beside me with eyes full of welcome and let me talk.
In the shade of the chicken coops
we would sit in the space you had created where we would be safe.
You would lean in and listen—the mere presence of one who cared was like rain on parched earth.
I drank it in.

But those days were soon cut short—
those days made way for other things.

So many years have passed.
I think I glimpse you at a park or a crowded avenue
but I quickly realize it’s not you
and it never can be.

I greatly miss you, my beloved friend.
I sometimes wonder if there are dogs in heaven.