Joy

I never sat with Natalie, I always sat by Joy,
My kindergarten kamerad when I was just a boy.
We snipped out sheep and angels for the manger or the crib,
And picked the better morsels from the other’s coloured bib.

Surprised by Joy? Of course I was when last week on the bus,
I heard a faint commotion which was followed by a fuss.
“Billy!” she exclaimed (for it was Joy, and no mistake)
“I haven’t seen you scoffed my seventh birthday cake!”

I gazed her up and down: she was a nubile-looking doll,
The sort against whose naked shoulder young men love to loll.
Her wedding finger ringless, she created quite a stir:
How joyless had my Joyless life been since I’d last seen her.

“Come here and sit beside me,” she half-whispered ’cross the aisle,
“We ought to do some catching up.” She smiled a wicked smile.
“Ignore the frump you’re parked beside,” she added, rather cattily.
I introduced my wife at once. “Do you remember Natalie?”

From the book Rime Present