ONE HUNDRED POEMS • by Dart Humeston

“I don’t understand poetry,” Sam told Leonard, his best friend since elementary school.

“Yeah. Who does?” Leonard replied, chuckling.

The two of them were sitting in lawn chairs in Sam’s back yard, watching the barbeque fire get hot enough for them to plop the steaks on the grill. Meanwhile, they sat, talked and drank German beer.

“No, I mean, my own poetry,” Sam said, waving his beer bottle in the air.

“You write poetry?” Leonard asked, scrunching up his face.

“I never did before, but now I write a poem every day.”

“You’re a poet? I didn’t know it. Look at that, so am I!” Leonard laughed while Sam shook his head. He was used to his friend’s juvenile humor. Leonard would probably crack a joke at his own funeral. Sam wondered if it was some sort of defense mechanism.

“Why am I friends with you again?” Sam asked.

“My amazing wit and charm!” Leonard laughed harder. He was short and muscular, owning a strong laugh.

“Maybe not.” Sam smiled a wan smile. He looked as if he had lost weight, becoming so angular, he almost looked geometric, an abstract version of his former self.

Then an awkward silence seem to come over them like a cool morning mist. After a few moments Leonard realized his friend wasn’t laughing. Or smiling anymore.

“Seriously, you write poetry every day?” Leonard asked.

“Without fail,” Sam replied quietly. “Fire is almost ready.”

“Wait, before you mess with the fire, why do you write poetry every day?”

“I don’t know,” Sam said, exhaling deeply.

Leonard looked about the yard, at the fire, at the sky, at his feet. While friends for over twenty years, tight as could be, they never discussed anything more serious than the blunder in last week’s football game. He didn’t know if he should tell Sam he was sorry about his situation, or proud, or what. He knew enough not to make any more jokes about it.

Leonard looked at Sam’s face, noticed the stress lines, the sullen eyes.

“Hey, do what you have to do,” he told Sam. Sort of a male catch-all phrase. It could apply to any situation, from work trouble to dating issues to a faulty carburetor.

“I have over one hundred of them now,” Sam said, standing up to check on the barbecue fire.

“One hundred days?” Leonard asked, his brows furrowed, his eyes drifting up and to the left as his mind whirled. “Since the funeral,” he said.

“Yep.” Sam answered as he poked the fire.

“Shit,” Leonard whispered.

Silence again. Leonard took a few gulps from his beer; Sam stood still, staring into the crackling fire.

“I think this is part of your healing, bro. Keep doing it,” Leonard said in his serious voice, which he rarely used. “She would want that.”

Sam turned toward Leonard. His eyes might have been damp. Probably from the smoke from the fire.

“You think?” Sam whispered.

“Yeah. I know it for sure, man. Keep writing those poems until none are left to write.”

Sam breathed in deeply, turned back to the fire. His face relaxed slightly.

“And remember, Sam, I am here for you. Anything you need, anytime. Period. Bro code.”

Both of them were silent. The fire crackled and the smoke swirled upward toward heaven.

“Thank you, man,” Sam said.

“Fire is ready.”

Mr. Howard Dart Humeston writes novels, short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and humor. He also is a blogger and photographer. He worked for 25 years as an assistant dean and adjunct faculty at a Miami university where he also earned a Masters Degree in Higher Education. He currently lives in a small town in south central Florida. Mr. Humeston is married with a daughter and four cats. The cats are single.

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Every Day Fiction