i never got to say goodbye.
to the man in the white tank. ribbed cotton. vertical stripes. a smile as
wide as the ocean from which he/my love for him grew.
i saw his footprint in the sand today. toes on souls,
i placed my sole in his and waited for the crushing wave. the ones we’d wade in, talking
about things we’d like to do in/for/of the next five years
scuba dives and cycle rides. travel of various degrees
– far north. further west. city hopping. baby popping. tail wagging. down
payments. no more basements. upward
acknowledgments. butterfly wishes. afternoon kisses. lemon spritzes.
sunday drives to nowhere. up coasts. down mountains. in theatres. of
books. menus of letters. letters of love. diner specials from everywhere.
days of nothing special. evenings of everything.
thought of our lists. sketched on throw away napkins
and drive through receipts. doodled on diner placemats. traced on palms of
grease and backs of oil.
things that made us happy - hearts of palm. palmetto
trees. trees of bees. honeysuckle vines.
scrabble lines. slot machine dimes. love. lovely lists.
the ones we’d compose then compile while consuming
things that made our hearts ring – crosswords and curry -- and our voices
sing – lennon and mercury
talking about things that made
me/us (he often, not always, agreed) angry – incarceration
rates, feuding states. states of suspension. days in detention.
pondering things that he/we (I often, not always, agreed) found interesting – me.
us. education baits, soulmates. historic dates. unknown
why wait, he’d say. too many reasons to count.
i sat in the sand and counted. waves. gulls. children.
shells. grills. sandy hills. unpaid bills.
then counted letters. letters in bottles. on ice cream
trucks. on chair backs. on bare backs.
anything to forget when I
could only remember.
i never got to say goodbye. to the man in the white
* * * *
Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works
in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with
stories, poems, and essays published in a wide
variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author ofInvisible Ink (Toho Pub), On Daily
Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility (forthcoming,
Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups (forthcoming