Written for friends

"One for the road?" she asks me,
A sad-sweet smile on her face.
And as I turn to her to reply,
It all seems so out of place.
Here there were dreams that were spoken;
Here there were tales that were spun:
An ocean of tears that were shed here,
A mountain of deeds that were done.
Friendships were made out of strangers,
And causes were wrought out of strife,
The good and the bad and the indifferent:
All of the flavors of life.
But nothing is ever forever,
And eventually time wounds all heals,
The judgment of aeons is final,
And the magistrate hears no appeals.
For those who now gather belongings
And prepare to journey away
Are not who they were when they entered
Through the very same doors yesterday:
Changed for the worse or the better,
But changed they are none-the-less,
And while we differ differently,
We're linked by that differentness.
... The lights are turned up to their brightest
And the trash and debris can be seen
Gathering up in the corners
And strewn all about the scene.
The staff have begun their duties
Putting the place to rest,
They've changed as much as the patrons,
And I know they're doing their best
But closing is different from closure
And the bartender's sad-sweet smile
Begs one last moment of sucrease
To put off the end for a while.
So I sit back down on my stool
And say as she turns to the shelf.
"One for the memories instead, please.
The road can manage for itself."