You and your photographs of boats;
that repeated metaphor for departure,
or simply the possibility of a voyage?
What you cannot tell me you tell me
with a vessel and its single passenger,
eyes fixed on some skylit conclusion.
Set apart and starkly upon a canvas
of tractable waves, brought to still
by the trigger-click of your camera,
like the sound a key makes when it
releases the lock. Your heart became
that lock; these images how you have
always articulated distance, a withdrawal.
Darling, there are just as many ways
of saying goodbye as there are ways
of letting you go. The boat is narrow
like the width of my heart after
impossible loss, cruel resignation;
this heart you ride in. Love, if this is how
you choose to leave me let me let you.
First published in Atlanta Review
Last modified: 3 September 2003