Day 798, September 8, 2022


How many times does one say good bye, 
at the gate at a small rural airport, 
in the parking lot of an adopted home town, 
after dinner in a deserted shopping mall. 

Between utterances, 
entire human beings are brought into existence, 
certain lives cease to exist, 
careers end, 
and others evolve. 

I eat my cod and broccoli, 
poke at the yellow rice. 

There is a subtle saffron flavoring 
as if the chef were afraid of their spices. 
I remember a time when he taught me 
how to cook sausages, 
how he boiled them first, 
before placing them on the grill. 

My favorite sausages were from the trailer 
at the Route 47 flea market, 
garnished with peppers and onions, 
fingertips stained with yellow mustard, 
the smell of moldy records and rusty tools still on my hands. 

There was a horse in the corral across the parking lot 
that nipped at little children’s fingers, 
but feeding a horse long fistfuls of grass is hard to resist, 
and eventually tears dry. 

Sometimes there are places we travel, 
and then we don’t. 
There are restaurants we frequent, 
and then our tastes change. 
Sometimes, a chocolate cheese cake 
only exists in one’s memory 
and is never realized again. 

In the space between good byes, 
there is love 
and disappointment, 
a good joke, 
the death of an animal. 

My physical therapist said 
she hopes she doesn’t see me again. 
This last time she was more gentle, 
like it was a kind parting.


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