Arrivals and Departures

Driving to your arrival at the airport I
Tunnel the sea, find space among rows of empty
Cars, park, walk, de-escalate, to a numbered gate
Where you are fallen safely from the sky.  We wait
Together watching tired luggage snake its way
Toward us, retrieve your bags, locate our lettered bay,
Get in and out, pay to escape the concrete maze,
 To journey back and backwards to our time, our place.

There are fresh flowers, familiar linens, in your room,
The kitchen shelves are stocked with your once favored food,
You offer little gifts to me  as you make tea
To bridge the missing travelled quarter day between
Amsterdam’s dinner and our own, our talk carries
From travel, weather and family to varied
Certainties about our common past, flowing on
To unvaried uncertainties of uncommon

Futures.  Days pass by. You are reassured that I,
The house, the objects here hold to your memory,
The stones of the walk, the garden’s early light, the black
Dog, the “subway’s” hidden passage down the steep back
Stairs, treasured attic boxes exhumed, examined, complete,
While at a further range some altered shops and streets
Whisper of modest change even as they remind
You of childhood, revised and safely left behind.

Then together we take the road under the shelf
Of the sea, your blue backpack repacked as yourself,
Heavier, the black dog disgruntled as you leave,
Arriving for your departure, you get out, heave
Your travels to your back, embrace me and say I
Love you, be safe, as I return you to the sky,
Make my way back to what was now and then our home
Where I may gather up the kitchen’s crumbs alone.

Housekeeping, 2005