By Brandon Lipkowski

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We sat together
on opposites ends of
a booth near the window
of a fast food chain,
miraculously open on
Christmas Day,
for those in the services,
those who drive trucks,
and those who find
themselves alone,
on opposite ends
of the booths.

We’re nearly sixty
years apart,
he’s lived my life
four times,
but our jokes are
timeless, and our
timing is youthful
and exciting.

We aren’t related,
but I appreciate him
more than his family
does, or at least,
what’s left of his family.
More than his customers,
more than our respective

Of course, these other
people don’t see him
when I do,
not on Christmas Day,
not together at opposite
ends of a booth.

I see him, terribly alone,
terribly young,
slowly living out every
exciting day until
I outlive him,
bury him,
speak at his service.
Look at his family,
look at our respective
and I might tell a joke
no one will laugh at,
because the comedian
has passed.

He isn’t sullen or tired,
but I know that he is
because he did not call
to ask me to meet.
He called to imply that
he needed a friend,
that he could not
withstand the runtime
of the movie.

With sixty years
between us, we both
felt those same two
being alone and
not having enough

His hands shook
and he made a mess
of himself.
I finished eating long
before him, and
saw all of these things
through a gritty
projection against
the restaurant walls,
and I understood then
that love was
miraculous and
and that one day it
would outlive me as
though it would not
speak at my service.

– Brandon Lipkowski