Almost Love

Jeff Friedman

White Wings

She thought she had white wings. I didn’t see any wings anywhere, but I didn’t want to disagree. “They’re beautiful wings,” I said, “but really they have a bit of yellow and blue in them.” “Yes,” I like that," she said and lifted both of her arms as if ready to embrace me or fly away.

Purple Ribbons

I gave her a purple ribbon that I found at a table in the bar. She took the ribbon and stared at it for a moment. “Thank you,” she said. “You must think I’m an angel.” Then she walked across the room and dropped it in the garbage can.


She said my lips were salty. I said her lips were salty, which is why she thought my lips were salty. She shook her head. “You’re the saltiest person I know. It’s as if you were dipped in seawater.”


She looped the ribbon around a swath of her hair and tied it. I touched her cheek, ready to kiss her but then my hand reached up to pull the ribbon loose. She grabbed my hand. “Uh uh,” she said. “That’s there for a reason. Not sure about you.” She let go of my hand. “Are we back to this again?” I asked. “Back to what,” she said. “The same old loop,” I answered. She removed the ribbon and tossed it toward me; it floated between us like an unanswered kiss.

Jeff Friedman’s tenth collection, Ashes in Paradise, will be published by Madhat Press in fall 2023. His other collections of poetry and prose include The Marksman (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020), Floating Tales (Plume Editions/Madhat Press, 2017), and most recently The House of Grana Padano (Pelekinesis Press, 2022), cowritten with Meg Pokrass.