When you doubt a friend, it’s like
putting a flame to the handrail
of a well-worn footbridge, smooth
and trusting, and waiting for fire to appear.
Soon the handrail is useless for holding
you steady; the flame of doubt spreads.
Travel the bridge only down the middle, as doubt
grows hotter and meaner, swallowing more bridge.
Behind you, your tiny flame has grown
to devour where you once walked safely.
Remembered footsteps are consumed by your doubt.
No turning back, the bridge crumbles to ash.
Quicken your steps to safety, off the footbridge,
thoughts of days of peaceful passing there.
But you put the flame to the bridge. Look back.
Ash and burned boards float past like old friends.