I knew Hemingway

Introduced at a young age, we became close friends

I followed him everywhere

Beside him as he fought in World War I, worried when he was wounded

Rejoiced at his recovery

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Filled with fear when he went back to war again and again

We walked the streets of Paris

Drank whiskey with him in his favorite bar

In Spain, I heard his cheers join the crowd at bullfights

Fascination with death kept him spellbound

Climbed with him, the mammoth Kilimanjaro

I endured the heat of Africa as he gloried in the hunt

Silencing the lions, the rhinos, the hyenas

He had many loves, but none more devoted than I

I slept with him, walked with him, celebrated triumphs, mourned his losses

He fed me a memorable feast; broken promises, danger

Sweet moons rising over battlefields, bedrooms and mountains

I wanted to hold his hand during the dark times

Tell him everything would be all right, but we both knew it would not

He kept death at bay as long as he could

When it won, I wept.

Now and again, I hear his voice

I read his words

And know he lives on and on and on

Debi Neville is a poet, playwright and freelance writer. The Post Bulletin publishes poetry by local and area writers every Tuesday. Send poems to Meredith Williams at life@postbulletin.com.