The Non-Persistence of Memory
By Trevor Hewett

As kids, we didn't like each other;
he always seemed so good at things
I wanted to be good at -
fighting, football, climbing trees -
while I was tubby, clumsy, bookish.

Years went by when we
could hardly look at one another,
a fire fuelled by rivalry
for places in the football team
and action with the local girls.

And then I moved away, forgot him
over twenty years or so
until last Christmas Eve
when I met him in the street,
his arm around the shoulders

of his third, young, leggy wife
and his face lit with clear pleasure.
We shook hands, he introduced me
as 'one of his oldest friends'.

I grinned and spluttered, thrown out
by his warmth and didn't know
if it was seasonal goodwill
or he'd forgotten all our differences
or whether time erodes and wears away
the jagged edges of old enmity

to leave a smooth, untarnished face
that fits and locks with others
that are similarly worn. And I
felt guilty I remembered and
that maybe I'd eroded
only half as well as he.

Trevor Hewett is an Englishman who lives and writes in his native Cornwall. Published widely in the UK and internationally, he has a short collection of work - 'The Patchwork Woman' - available from Mockfrog Design Press, Australia.

(This poem was previously published by Mockfrog Press, Australia - 2000)


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