Not that I hate you overmuch.
It’s less of hate than love defied.
Howe’er our hands will no more touch.
We’ll go our ways, the world is wide.
                                    --Paul Laurence Dunbar, “After the Quarrel”

You sent a final answer from hospice.
We thought the wording strange, not quite your own:
the you who knew us, knew us. (Did I miss
your point again: kiss off?) That long lodestone,
your absence, tugged. We’ve lugged it thirty years.
Your confusion stunned us, not your tone.
We blamed your brain tumor—it’s just a hunch.
So philosophic, calm, you claimed no fear,
remarked aside how you were out of touch.
Not that I hate you overmuch.

She had met me in March cold, New York,
snapped some pics, felt gorgeous in the light,
and thought to send them, joked of growing old.
Our fourth was off in California, never
with us, busy with her work as ever,
though not forgetting, either, not denied
that bond from five long months, together
by accident and yet, how strong the hold.
My feelings for you best might be described
As less of hate than love defied.

We have been pondering on those days for months,
asked others what it meant, that tale we spread
like icing, our sweet tale of four, our stunts
through Spain—grifos, Goya, burros you fed
pizza, our eight hands on new guitars.
There were Three Musketeers. But four? Nonesuch.
So weird. We wonder even now what led
 us to be friends. Our disavowal of cars?
Our love of language, food, songs, going Dutch?
Howe’er our hands will no more touch.

We found your death online as one now does,            
recalled you left us once before for good:
bid her farewell and my last letter was
unread I heard, and yet I understood,
not why but what the silence meant, and knew 
we’d go our ways. The world is wide.
“I don’t feel sad but feel a void I should
by rights not feel,” my friend sums up.  Me too.
We went our ways, and now besides,
we’ll go our ways, the world is wide.

I have struggled for a few years now to write a glosa, a Spanish form, in its most formal it uses another poet's four lines(at the head), each one becoming the final line of the four 10-line stanzas that follow.

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