The older I get, the more dead friends I have.

At three in the morning whenever it rains,
a former close friend rattles my windows
sending a message in Morse code
we mastered as fellow Boy Scouts.

Since he was older than me,
we agreed he would go first.
Impatient for my arrival,
he wants to know what’s keeping me?

I tell him I can’t help being a healthy octoganerian.

He’s still complaining the soup isn’t hot enough,
and when he asks fellow diners for a sample,
they always have something better to eat.

A frustrated thespian,
he used to belt out “Old Man River,”
over the Wildcat Ridge
as we hiked the Allamuchy trail.

Now, his fellow residents not only fail to join in,
but yell: “Shut the fuck up!”

He still whines about the quality of the food.
There’s no humus, babaganoush,
or baby lamb chops,
and his chocolate covered halvah
is in short supply.

I promise that before I join him to double date
with two of the 72 virgins waiting in Paradise,
I’ll load up at the Sahara Restaurant
on the Casbah-like streets of Paterson,
and deliver all the goodies he’s been missing.