Last Day

Last Day

I

The steeple bells toll.
In three hours I must be on a bus.
I do not want to leave
and I do not want to do
all the things I still need to do:
clean, pack, say good bye. . .

and have I left off “cry”?
a perfectly honest rhyme
for which I am not feeling time –
or, more precisely, not feeling.

And isn’t that what departures are
for me: A history of not feeling
from father to lover to sons?

II

“On the road again” — us men
not feeling the grief that surges
and recycles itself again and again.

And where does it go, blocked like that?
What great shoebox full of bubblegum cards
does each departure get filed in, traded for –
What cost these rituals of manhood,
This loneliness of love without tears?

III

How silence imprisons us.
How we fear that if we begin
to weep it will not stop.

What price do we pay
for such manliness?

stalwarts all,
standing tall,
standing tall.

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