Jane Newkirk

Lost Friend

You greeted me with apologies for penmanship,
in long loops and right slant,

how you walked, pitched forward and loping,
reaching headlong for your sun.

Dear friend, remember letters,
how we carried them in our pockets

like seeds, watered them daily
with confessions, warmed them with musings,

until, in weeks’ time, they shone green and ready
to be cast out across states

landing in our laps like dropped blossoms.
Now your voice, preserved for decades

like a pinned moth, flutters
free from the open page:

There’s a beautiful tall tree
of dark wood with broad leaves

and clusters of white flowers,
now falling.

Did you love what your life finally grew
of words and wood, crafting them into

lean, supportive things? Friend,
I still pine to be taken up by the world,

delivered to some windswept landscape,
free of my failures and guilt.

Dear friend of lost addresses
and disconnected land lines,

two pages, three folds, and thirty years past,
I suffer the missing valediction.

Jane has worked as a cook, bread baker, stained glass artist, and art gallery owner. She currently works as an occupational therapist in a long-term acute care hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. Previous publication includes her creative nonfiction piece “The Language of Bread,” nominated for the 2020 Pushcart Prize. This is her first published poem.

Next poem

Previous poem

Fall 2021