That’s How It Was

I’m not afraid of my final destination, she said;
I’m afraid of the journey to get there. She packed
a wicker suitcase with Hawaiian shirts and lunch,
in exactly the manner of someone who doesn’t know
how long she’ll be gone or what will be required.

Flip-flops or raingear? Sunscreen, yes or no?
In the stars, can you sunburn? Does cancer
even matter there? I couldn’t answer

her questions. Certain things, you find out
on your own. I drove her to the airport —
a lane called Kiss ‘n Fly ‘n Fly ‘n Fly —
and I tried to keep her from going,

a tumble of words I hadn’t said,
each one poking me in the throat
as it came out, and falling on her

two deaf ears. Already, I had lost her.
You know how you know something
even when you don’t want to know
that you know it? That’s how it was.


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