Brian Merrikin Hill

The Party

Who is not here? I have invited all
who said they wished to come or whom I sought.
As they sit round the room I hear their small
insistent voices interrupting thought.

There is no vacant chair; and every kind
of conversational gambit is arranged.
Bishop and scientist, painter, brilliant mind
clatter their cups and tell why things have changed,

and what will happen, what is needed. Those
I love are here, the dark brown girl, the sage
whose bitter words fall wisely. Yet I close
the door regretfully, I search the page

of invitations for the missing name.
Who is not here? Oh whose step by the door
do I most anxiously await with shame?
Than all these one forgotten matters more.

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