Saturday, February 05, 2005

Wish You Were Here

You are planning your journey,
an excursion long-awaited,
long-anticipated.
You call your friends one by one
to tell us tidbits
that you have saved for this time.

When you were in Italy
you sent gorgeous cards
of Tuscan hills and villas
in the summer sun,
and anecdotes of beautiful men
walking hand-in-hand
through Roman streets.

You wrote from Maui
to tell me how lovely the beaches
and how lush the vegetation,
how much fun you were having
and to say, "Wish you were here."

You laughed about a foggy cab ride home
in Vienna with two men who picked you up
and how while you slept off the pleasures
of having shared their human touch,
one of the guys stole the earrings from your ears.

On this last bittersweet journey
you have limits on what you can carry.
Nothing earthly can accompany you
except our love and sorrow on seeing you go;
No pen, nor paper, no phone-numbers
for late night calls home.

Will you send a message in the night,
in some dream of you
when your body was whole and healthy?
Will you be a sprite who hides our things
as did your long departed lover?
Or, will you crash mirrors
and shove them under the rug
on the anniversary of your death
as did our mutual ghostly friend?
Will there be any thing
to glean from you when you arrive
in that other place?

Perhaps you will visit in the face and in the arms
of an unknown, a Quidam, an Anyman,
or on the wind through the leaves
that lifts a sweet fragrance to the senses.
Maybe you will be embodied in a melody
that we once sang together
or in the savoring of a meal that we once shared.
Or maybe you will just suddenly trigger the
raising of the hair on my arms
or the simple goodness of the thought of you
when I least expect the tears to fall.

I can not begin to imagine
how your absence will be felt
or how I will struggle to make you present.
Bon Voyage, my dear sweet friend.
Be safe, have fun.
Wish you were here.

Copyright 2004 Ron Hudson. Dedicated to Donald Howard. Previously appeared in Other Voice Poetry International, Vol. 5.

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