Loss of a Friend

a poem by Jan Oskar Hansen

Port Of Spain hazed into a fuzzy outline,
the sea was turquoise
and the ship a speck in a bittersweet tear.
He had lost his heart to a girl in a bar
but she didn’t really want him
but his shipmate Eric,
later when they made love
she was still thinking of him,
whispered his name till his heart was heavy with shame
and the silence between them a scream of regret.
Next evening when Eric had asked him to join him ashore
he had looked away and said no.
She had given Eric a picture of herself,
which he showed him and had said that she was a very good lay;
he had nearly hit his best friend then
but smiled and nodded his head.
The image of her smile stayed with him on the long voyage back home
where the shoreline was hostile,
his blood winter cold
and Eric no longer his friend.