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So Long

ISSUE:  Summer 2007

I keep my distance, watching (as you would)
over nodding heads, from my parking spot,
your burial in a corresponding plot.
Underfoot, you might be understood,
as we assume the silence of the dead
reciprocal of all we left unsaid.

Alike in our indifference to any
common ground (like this), conspirators,
almost—I saved my breath as you save yours
(oneself is enough, one is one too many),
we shared—exchanged—our handshakes (medium strength),
and thereby held each other at arm’s length.

The party begins (that quickly) departing. Still
apart, and still a part of them, I cross
myself as they do, passing. Sorry for your loss.
Keep busy, and do keep in touch.
We will
and will not. Apprehensions, out of tact,
then self-effacements turn to face this fact,

for which you are beyond forgiving me.
If there were something I could take, a keepsake
you meant for me . . . you meant for me to take
this stance for so long: objectivity,
distance. Now, six-feet even—fathomless, skin-deep—
our distance is the only thing we keep.


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