Our Last Chat

It often crosses my mind

the last time we talked

at the gate of the drive

of his parents’ house

a few doors up from mine

a brief casual chat about 

the end of our schooldays

and our hopes for college

and our lives beyond.

Eighteen! How callow 

we were, how unversed

in the ways of the world

so fresh and forward-looking

like schooners leaving port

onwards onto the high seas

with tailwinds filling our sails

towards destinations unknown.

I little knew then that would be

our final meeting on this earth

and we would never catch up

to reflect on how our lives 

had fared for good or for ill.

We gleaned shadowy facts

about each other of course

from neighborhood gossip

but our paths were destined

to neither cross or converge

and any urge to reconnect

grew weaker as time went by.

Our parents eventually died

and their houses were sold

so we could not meet again

on our childhood’s road.

Then we ourselves grew old

until I heard from a friend

he’d had a fatal heart attack

at the age of sixty-three.

And that was the end of that

expunging forever the chance

of a cozy reminiscing chat

with his journey ending

in the inevitable shipwreck

to which all our voyages

through life are doomed.

Even now I often recall

that meeting so long ago

at the gate of the drive

of his parents’ house

two optimistic souls

ignorant of their fate.


~Ian Fletcher,

Cardiff, South Wales


  1. Nice one Ian. Wouldn’t grammar police note that it should be, “neither cross nor converge” ?
    Reminds me of my favorite Indian poem, “To the Chinese Restaurant,” Anjum Hasan, 2006

  2. Thanks. You’re right, ‘nor’ is certainly standard but ‘or’ is possible according to Webster (it sounded OK to my ear as ‘spoken’ at least):
    Anyway, I claim ‘poetic license’!