The Magic Was in Nearness

Did she mourn them privately,
the chain-smoking drinkers of
black coffee or Constant Comment tea,
wisecracking knowers of my mother’s
secret heart? Did she grieve in her bedroom
while my father was away, maybe in the new town?
Did she miss them before we even left, because
her daily friends would soon become
Christmas card friends, maybe a phone call
now and then? When we moved, we really moved:
Nashville to Seattle, for example. Seattle to Minnesota.
Too far to visit, and besides, the magic was in nearness —
a kitchen table, an ashtray, a curl of blue smoke,
a child or two to shoo away, to let the real talk begin.

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2 (will be explained eventually)

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