Thirty years ago I saw you yesterday (a poem)

Some days linger in memory…

Thirty years ago
it was the yesterday I remember
every time July 29 rolls around

to tap me on the shoulder
and shake me out of my reverie

or flick my earlobe
to remind me
that next time I need to be brave—
take a deep breath
and say the words
out loud

I hate the smell of the ocean
but I let the currents carry me along
wherever they want to go—
which is always where they want to go
and never where I want to go

Because I’ve never known
where it is I’m going
or how I’m going to get there

Currents have been known
to suddenly shift

Sometimes they take me with them

Sometimes they’re happy to move on
while I sit, listening to the creek
and thinking about what brought me here

Sometimes I remember the night
our mutual friend persuaded you
to pretend to be Canadian
to fool my roommate and his friends
and I wonder if you still have
the Polaroids we took

or the time you persuaded me
to let you put make-up on me
(I still have that photo)

or that day you rode away on your bicycle
in the light rain of that Tuesday afternoon

Our goodbye scene has faded some

I barely remember walking home
but I know I did—
there was nothing else to do

Every ending takes another choice away

The years I sat with that feeling
could fill several volumes—
and for a while they did

My feelings about the ocean haven’t changed
but I insist on living close to the currents
and sometimes taking a walk on the waterfront
when the sun is out
and a cool breeze is blowing

In return, they carry me though the days
one to the other, one to the next

Some endings happen before we notice

(28/29 July 2022)

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