how to love your friends

you can only love
your friends
between 3 and 5pm

and not in their presence

take a moment
(each day
if you wish)
to experience the joy
their friendship brings

but do so quietly

and without a word to them
of the pleasure
their existence
in your world

don’t offer them
physical affection
or encouragement
or be proud of their accomplishments

leave them
and uncertain
teetering on the edge
of your friendship
every day

Paula Harris

Published in NZPS anthology "scattered feathers"