First Hellos

remember when I first said hi?

we were smiling in a stinky middle school band room,

a layer of spit over the carpet and our words


because first hellos are never sincere.

first hellos are made of tight lips and half smiles.

first hellos seem to say

            “I just don’t know about you yet.”


remember the next year?

when I said hello after a blank summer

that page of our friendship left un- illustrated


well that hello was not the first.

but it was very much the same.


we both knew that it had been a while

and that hello seemed to say

            “I knew you before, but it has been a while.”


but this time, when we talk once more

that first-hello imitation will freeze into a last-hello reality


time will pass and there will come a day when I don’t recognize your face on the street

and we may walk by a thousand times and you will never notice me.


because tight lipped hellos don’t leave memories, they erase them.

and half hearted smiles turn stone to sand

leaving it to crumble down into the dust.

like the friendship we had.


so let this be a tight- lipped goodbye.

filling the vacant space on the other side of our half smiles.


because there was a time when jaws were slack

and all teeth were showing.


when memories were made and just kept growing

and even if that time isn’t now, I promise to remember you somehow.



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