Seeing You Off

Good-byes precipitate in the stale air like a threat
of rain: perpetual terminal weather.
Making headway, rushing against
our will, we pass the long cars, dodging puddles
and baggage carts, sidestepping flocks of pigeons and
nuns — dark ladies
of the railways — to lounge in the leftover atmosphere
of leavetaking. The train stands like a fixture:
in its shadow we make a conversation,
hammering on small pieces.
Amid comings and goings, caught in this re-enactment,
we try to avoid a scene. Too late. Being here
we are in it: a station, a departure, another loss
continuing a history of losses. Again,
again. Never repaid with any return. Obedient
we want for the signal.
In our nervous to-and-fro we circle lot time,
mentioning other travels, tracking periodic pain
like a reassurance. Aboard! At last
the last-minute scramble, mumbled take care,
platform jumbling with sudden moves, a kind of arrival.
The train gains ground. I fall back
into the good behavior of those left behind.