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You Stood Beneath a Streetlight Waving Goodbye


ISSUE:  Spring 2012

You stood beneath a streetlight waving goodbye
the night we dropped you off in the city
for our daughter’s appointment
with one of the country’s top surgeons.
and as we drove away, the other children and I
waved back at you,
until, because of the angle and the distance,
your forms disappeared in the light.

And I remembered how,
in college,
I would turn back each evening
as I stepped out of your apartment building.
You would poke your young beautiful face
out the second story window,
your arm cutting the cool night air
as you waved goodbye.

And I would walk backwards
over the frosted grass
until I reached halfway beyond the next building,
where, each time, from that distance,
I watched the streetlamp’s light
suddenly consume your dark arm and face.

The mystics say creation begins
as a luminescent point,
a flash of wisdom,
containing all that will be
but in an abstract, potential form.

All those nights,
when we were so young,
when your body became a ray of light,
I could not have imagined
the life that lay ahead of us a decade later.
Two boys and two girls,
one who cannot hear.
All of us in a small apartment.
Each with needs as enormous as mansions.

Sometimes, I am afraid you will wave goodbye
and turn away from our life together,
that a man who can make things easier
has been waiting
ever since the mystic’s luminescent flash,
growing ever more real and hungry for you
until one day he will materialize
as you load groceries into the van.

I would like to go back to the young woman
waving at the window to the man walking backwards.
I would like to show her this life,
to say she is free to go,
and to ask her if she will still take me.

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