Goodbye and Hello
by John Huey
That was no way to leave me,
at the start of a year, with heartless
fortitude undressing, dressing and
heading out the door.
Within the disquiet you remain a composite,
more than one person but just one as
only you could have ever been.
In the car, close by you, in the dark, in
January, we took our break and headed
West across the divide that I drove but
once but have never, ever driven again
as even now, as an older man, over the
trips West in the hundreds, yes, hundreds,
sometimes in the air, in my astonishment,
is a remembrance of you.
Flying over the interstates still sometimes
seeing you sleeping next to me on the back
seat all the way out, your breath on my ear
but in separate rooms, intimate but fleeting
as you, for a while, could never
stray far from me.
A presence, you even came to the mountains
when your father died and I tried to empathize
but you, an orphan twice, were inconsolable
and there threw yourself, like we all did, to
hedonism as a diversion and made my
life hell for a while.
But beast that I am I recovered and made it
down to Boston and the student nurses and
ran a rampant mile or two up one end of
Boylston and down the other until we found
ourselves meeting at your sisters’ place, she
your twin but more sensible, and there,
finally reconciling your opacity and
determined self-rule, I told myself
I was rid of you.
Though there, in recollection, was that last
leg of our only road trip, up on the borderline
near the park in San Francisco on the
good end of Balboa Street where I was
broken again, dreaming of being with
you forever in some damaged fantasy
that involved a passion that was an
impossible rub for the misaligned as,
out of all proportion and with all due
warning, I persisted which was a pattern
of sorts of long standing only broken
decades later when it just timed out.
Despite seeming bewilderment, the absent
memory abates but the wheels keep turning
on the asphalt ribbon through Texas and
New Mexico, across Arizona and beyond, up
the Coast Highway, the elephant seals on the
rocks still calling from below, their fresh
cries resonant always though far from
audible, a long way from that
course in miracles.
John Huey’s student work of the 60’s-70’s was influenced by teachers in Vermont such as John Irving at Windham College and William Meredith at Bread Loaf. After many years he returned to writing poetry in 2011. He has had poems presented in Poetry Quarterly and in the Temptation anthology published in London by Lost Tower Publications. Work has also appeared in Leannan Magazine, Sein und Werde, at In Between Hangovers, Bourgeon, The Lost River Review and Perfume River Poetry Review. His full-length book, The Moscow Poetry File, will be out on Finishing Line Press on October 13, 2017.