Loyalty by Michael Wayne Friedman

Posted: September 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

I used to think of loyalty
as congenital. Tales
of canine heroism and the drilled bond
between soldiers in combat—
Not like my father
scurrying behind his walker
the mile home from the activity center,
to find my mother dazed
but unharmed. Her crumpled Corolla
broadsided by a Ford
in front of their complex.

I thought of loyalty as conscious, scripted,
cultivated from visible seed and metered
applications of water and sunlight, not as a natural
byproduct, like Proust’s madeleines
dipped in tea and laid end-to-end
in visceral strands of the familiar
cinching a life into a taut brocade,

a shared investment emerging through
the afterglow from ordinary rituals –
the setting of the breakfast table
each night before bed. Glasses and bowls
turned upsidedown, so as not to gather dust.
The discussion of which cereals to line up
in the space between the two place settings.
Michael Wayne Friedman is an MFA candidate in the Creative Writing program at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and works as a medical writer, preparing drug regulatory and scientific documents. His poems have appeared (or are slated to appear) in Golden Walkman Magazine, Wherewithal, Yellow Chair Review, Camel Saloon, The Second Hump Volume V, Plum Tree Tavern, East Jasmine Review, Silver Birch Press, Eunoia Review, and Stray Branch.


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