on a line from Szymborska
My departure from the city of O.?
I took no leave.
I’d learned to sleep angry.
On a train I was contained.
The water under the bridge
was just that. Shunned metaphor.
It did not send waves of regret
or make me reflect.
It did not baptize, wash away, or cleanse.
The countryside appeared
like the sides of any country
where rain falls and cows chew yellow flowers.
The world was not too much
or too much with me.
I stomached it.
In the photograph I only look lonely
because I was alone.
You cannot see the envelope on my lap
or the letters lodged under sweaters in my suitcase.
I carried only one bag, what I could manage
in a crowd.
You can imagine I held a thick book
from which nothing could distract me.
You can imagine my head high, eyes dry.
I did not see my departure as a failure, or a fall.
I’d dodged a bullet. Been reborn.
You can imagine it that way.
Only none of it was like that,
not like that at all.