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Christopher Apfelbach

Rookie (July 1,1990 / Burlington, VT)

Anam Cara


There was some kind of
afterglow when we met,
though what it came after—

the perfunctory clasp of hands
that neither of us really
believed in, the words

about small things, fading
into the pattern of the day—
what it came after, I couldn't say.

Nor could I pinpoint where
exactly the glow came from.
The slightly gap-toothed grin?

The brass buttons on your vest?
Not the bizarre, atonal rendition of
'Eleanor Rigby' on your lips,

that's for sure. I would guess—
if I had to hazard a guess—
that it was the eyes,

mingling brown and blue,
like the early hours of Creation
when Earth and Sea and Sky and God

were the only things within it,
still fresh and full of the fire of naming.
I felt a presence about me

within that mixture of gazes,
a nimbus of color and form,
and all that I was or had

was laid out bare along that
stretch of high school hallway.
Some mark lingered on you,

too, a subtle alliance
of shadow and energy;
we stood in silence, staring,

while our souls blurred and echoed
as if Monet himself had stepped
from Giverny to add a few touches.

I loved you then, anam cara,
you who would follow me
into fire without needing

to ask where or why
I walked, simply knowing,
understanding before even I did—

and if I have anything
to apologize to you for,
it is that I never truly said

that before now, soul-friend,
my dearest companion,
you who walk beside me

like an inverse shadow,
a patch of soul-shaped sunlight
traveling down a dark road.

Submitted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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