Friend Shift

I’m trying to forgive my friend
who arrives like a bleeder
in an ambulance.

I should minimize
my exposure, as to a bad
virus or too much sun.

I’m always the shadow,
the “local talent,” sweeping
the floor, feting her

even when my new baby
had just come home.
I was gulping

cranberry ginger ales
in dazed thirst to restore
myself as she uncorked

another dark-green bottle,
put her thumb
in the deep punt

of the heavy bell-shaped
bottom, and poured herself
more red.

Copyright © 2018 Leslie Williams. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, November/December 2018. Used with permission of the author.