To balance a friendship's difficult. To give's difficult, to take's difficult, Difficult to offer the enduring cure To caustic inward hurt and to outward time Where nothing's ever certain and less is sure. One must always be willing to offer a sacrifice-- A clattering frag of the poor apportioned self let go, Give the altar fire a fist of flour and rice Thrown into the forward void of hope. An ego Can be a convenient casualty at three. A memory of wiped eyes deployed at four Can settle noon's uneasy moment, and by jettisoning restore A lighter ballast to trim ship and sail on. A calm cool hand on a vomiting neck is displaced By the necessary zero, placeholding what's gone. Jaded jokes traded over a toke and a drink, The topical hour tossed off in a walk That helps a mellow pair of humans to think-- All can be branded and bundled and bade fair farewell: Your cost of continuing's their going to Hell. Lose it and be happy at the loss, Pay it and be damned the cost. Friendships no less than civil societies Send out their draft notices to the soon-to-be-lost; Death's the price to maintain us at our ease. An accurate accounting is friendship's worst curse For, accurately speaking, however equit- Able in feeling, all friendships divide at The punctual inequality of a hearse. So joy as you may and addition be damned. Don't look to friends for your conclusions While you nod and hum at their confusions (As maybe they will nod and hum at yours) And in this charmed essential interchange Do not dream to esteem yourself the worse Because of angry antsy things either said or did (What dark horrors brightly shown, what honors hid). After the humiliation in the kitchen A friend will still do as friendship always bids: Exert persistent force for modest growth inexorably as lichen.