When People Move Away

When people move away, and you’re still in the same place

The same place turns into something strange:

It feels new because you seem to know nobody,

But it is still new because the new place excitement just isn’t there.

.

When people move away, you finally realize

How your mother felt when you left home.

The phone calls are rituals, obligations,

Like a habit which when stopped hurts the other.

They don’t depend on you so much any more,

Don’t tell you what they do, and leave out the details.

.

It sometimes scares you, always makes you sad

Do they not remember any more, the little things

That made things work? And sometimes, you wonder

If you’ll be the first they call, like they always did,

When nothing is going right, or they just want

A bit of love, a taste of home, a long hug…

.

Or would the geographical barrier have succeeded

In separating them from you? Will you be strangers

Who smile uncomfortably at reunions,

And make small talk about separate lives?

.

What makes relationships last, things work?

What makes the distance go away, so that

When you finally meet, it feels like home again?

Like the most comfortable love in the world?

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I Don’t Want Your Pride

You said you were proud of me

I do not want that.

I don’t want your praise

When I do what you approve of.

If my actions sometimes cross over

To your neatly structured plans for my life,

That is only a coincidence, not a deliberate realignment.

.

I don’t want you to be proud

Pride is dependent on so many fragile conditions

That I will surely disappoint,

Or make myself bitter in making you smile.

.

I don’t want your pride

I want your hugs on a tired day:

Gently rub my arm as you press me to you

And let me know it’s fine, humans fail too.

The Last Photo before Goodbye

My hands shook when I clicked it –
You were laughing so hard that I couldn’t be still
I didn’t realize the flash was on:
It came out blurry,
You with red eyes and a far too wide mouth,
The background indecipherable.
.
I want to always remember you like this:
Slightly blurred, distorted sweetly by memory
This one-dimensional image of you will grow
Fonder to me as you seem lovelier with each day.
Let me forget the absurd pain and funny anger intrinsic in any close bond
Until I face the inevitable disappointment that meeting you will be.

Your Death

When they brought you in
And gathered in flocks to mourn
They wondered why I wasn’t
Shocked, nor why I never shed
A single tear.

How could they understand
That you had stopped living
Many years ago? That
Your laughter and your words had
Ceased to excite me, and
Your tears had ceased to move me?
That I no longer cared
If you were there or not?
That you were like the books
I used to read, now gathering dust

Forgive me, for I did not
Mourn you, nor do I
Miss you. You were already
Dead to me by then.