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  • Fifteen hours on the road

    To be here

    Sitting in the Atlanta airport

    Just one

    Of 100,000

    Intersecting lines

    I watched the flow

    And replayed

    Summer’s final act

    The closing scenes

    The last afternoon

    Sitting on my parent’s porch

    Watching my father toss and turn chicken legs

    On the grill

    Hands trembling

    Just a little

    As he sauced them

    Cousin Billy’s Maine Maple

    Basting sauce

    He read me the label

    So much said

    So much left in silence

    You can take my table saw

    I won’t be using it again, he told me

    I was leaving

    Driving out at three the next morning

    to fly back to South Africa

    A table saw

    What would the security staff say

    How much excess baggage would that be

    I probably need a house first, I said

    Later

    I held my father’s hand

    In the darkening kitchen

    I guess it will be next June, he said

    The curtain of winter hangs

    between then and now

    Time and fog

    They blur the edges

    Leaving is not an act but a process

    Thinning,

    Step by step

    Fading

    Until just an outline

    Then a hint

    Then a memory remains

    Space remembers us

    Holds our place for a breath

    Then sighs

    Releasing

    Like a child blowing dandelion silk

    out and out

    and

    gone

    Later still

    As dusk gathered the shadows near and close

    Leonard Cohen in measured cadence crooned

    Harsh and smoky sweet as whiskey

    The old house and me

    Settling toward night

    With the memories of summer

    Only lingering memories of summer

    Flash like fireflies

    And then they’re gone

    I remembered

    Our last island night

    Looking north

    Lightening

    Casting long spears

    Jagged, streaking to the sea and

    over the mountains

    the wind boxed the compass

    came west then north then east.

    Sharply wrinkling the darkening sea.

    Sheets of rain

    Wet the sun warmed rocks

    Where we drank sparkling wine

    And cast our lobster shells to the sea

    Finally

    in the hours before dawn

    My footsteps creaked

    Through the old house

    My presence already fading.

    And I know you want to hold on

    I know I want to hold on

    Cause leaving is

    Such a final act

    Headlights shine the road ahead

    Tail lights red behind

    And it’s only for a moment

    We’re remembered

    Only for a moment

    We fill this space

    This me

    This you

    This us

    Just a moment and then we’re gone

    Blown away like dandelion silk

    Flung out like dandelion seeds

    Spun out and gone with the breath of a sigh

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