Prompt: Write about a time you had to say goodbye
Your last day at school, forever goodbye,
walking home along the damp cemetery path,
blustery chestnut trees, shadows across white stones,
to the end of your street, removal van parked,
you soon will be far from England's dark shores.
Boys, unlike girls, don’t give hugs,
Boys, unlike grownups, don’t shake hands,
so there was nothing left for us to do,
except to give a thumbs up,
and part with a curt “keep well.”
But you didn’t turn away, there was something more;
hands extracted from pockets, knee bent,
a sprinter on the starting grid, ready to flee,
your eyes dark with fear,
“Please don’t hit me, when my secret I tell.”
From your pocket, you pulled a blue-bound book,
opened a page of the ancient script, eyes pleading,
seeking my approval of its Hebrew words.
You stuttered and spoke, “It’s my Dad’s,”
then turned and ran, and I saw you no more.
Remembering again, words unsaid,
my thoughts caught in the web you had spun,
flies awaiting the spider’s deadly embrace.
Still fifty years on, questions struggle to break free,
longing for the predator to devour my doubts.
Why would I be angry, why would I hit?
Why the secret of your father’s faith?
Your religion was mine, why did you never say?
What became of you, in that far-away land?
Had you been a girl, a romantic fantasy could I weave,
I could mourn the lost love, that was never to be,
I could see my sadness as love unrequited,
we would have hugged; we would have had our goodbye.
But we were boys, so no tears did I shed,
just an idle curiosity of what might have been.
Why did you fear me, you who had no reason to fear?
…and if you think these are tears, it's just dust in my eye.