His were the best parties.
Handmade origami invitations,
scalloped edges, purple calligraphy.
Fragrance from gardenias
wafted across his yard, dragonflies shimmered
above the pond. Strings of tiny white lights
encircled tree branches, twinkled
in the summer night. After everyone left
I would perch on a stool, offer sound bites
of gossip, Kenny dumped Aaron,
Sally got fired,
while he hand washed
crystal wine glasses.

He sold the town house two years after
his lover died, moved to a small
apartment with a kitchen counter
barely large enough to line up
his bottles of medicine. Now
I sit on a cracked vinyl chair
in the clinic waiting room
while he sees the doctor. He exits
the exam room, doesn't meet my gaze,
doesn't schedule another appointment,
heads to the parking lot. Before I start
the car he hands me a prescription,
folded like his party invitations.
Scrawled in black ballpoint,
one word. Hospice.