For a Friend Gone Away: Narcissistic Version

I do not miss you
the way a fish, thrashing and gurgling,
misses water.

I do not miss you
like a brother. Your brother, balding
like you, already does.

In order to miss you
like my daughter, that little pocket mirror
wearing my dimples,

I would have to hold you down
while I blethered raspberries across your belly
or wet-wiped your bottom.

No, I miss you the way I miss myself,
that boy who stood long hours before the bathroom      
flexing skinny muscles, trying on

grins and scowls, who stood
with one arm raised in virginal salute, craning
for a look at what had to be

hair beginning in his pit,
and wondering like an owl deep in the woods, who,
who would ever like him?

*Originally published in Being: What Makes a Man (University of  Nebraska, 2015).

Derek Sheffield’s book of poems, Through the Second Skin (Orchises, 2013), was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. His poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Orion, Shenandoah, and The Southern Review, and were given special mention in the 2016 Pushcart Prize Anthology. He teaches poetry and ecological writing at Wenatchee Valley College, serves as poetry editor of, and lives with his family in the foothills of the Cascades near Leavenworth, Washington.

Jayne Marek‘s photos have appeared in publications such as Camas, Sliver of Stone, Gyroscope, Central American Literary Review, Peacock Journal, New Mexico Review, Blast Furnace, and Gravel, among others.

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