A week of leaving (day 7)
Don’t trust your goodbyes to words –
be seeing you, see you next time,
(tripwires all) –
before you know it you’ll be sliding
down that slippery slope of half-truths
headed for platitudes you’ll spend
the plane ride home unwishing.
Turn instead to the simpler score
of haptics, intentional gestures of touch:
Handshakes that turn into handholding.
A single spring flower in a transparent vase
for the woman who tried to teach you
how to folk dance without falling down.
Go to church on Easter Sunday,
give thanks for the resurrected
bridge that brought you.
A nod and wink that equate to complicity
for the walnut man who never charged
less than you were happy to pay.
In the home of the married teachers,
linger long enough to appreciate
the warmth of uneducated laughter,
to meet their grown son and his cat
named after Yogi Bear’s Boo-Boo
but nobody’s sidekick.
Return tenfold the waves of greeting
from teenagers from the children’s home.
Walk through the pub’s smoke screen
to the publican whose mother shares
your birthday, don’t be embarrassed
to give him a homemade card
emblazoned with universally scripted
sunrise – really, you’ll be surprised
how happy you are just to leave it
there and at that.