this one dove into his work and was never seen again. that one raised a family and moved to more affordable real estate outside of town. i made my salad to define me. the bacon bits were fakers, everything else about it was real. it was colorful and the greens they bordered on iceberg always, cut toward the base of the stalk where the water really filled them. i am always thirsty. a protective splash of oils with some herbs and salt and pepper. vinegar in just the right amount, the same amount they baptize with… i miss my old friends. the silly things we did in the middle of the night. the funny conversations. i like to reach out to them but they don’t always respond. i’m sure i’m the same. not always responsive. this one shadowed their partner’s career trajectory. that one got injured on the job and is laid out on oxys dodging commercials for a living. no one even knows about that one but i know they are out there, in a different kinda pain. listen. i love you too. i’ve been there. i know. some want a life that keeps pushing in one direction. me, i like to land on a mushroom and hide out there for a while, regroup before i walk the shredded carrots to a crouton. but you can bet your ringing telethon i will leave this bowl empty with a tangy memory in my mouth, i will take what defines me and devour it whole and live again. redemption can happen several times a day for those of us who have the nerve to put ourselves out there unreservedly. this one learned a language and moved where they speak it. that one made a soft space to lie in, free from any sensation of the city. you have your mind to contend with. you have me and i can be quiet. when i’m not saying anything they love me more.