On a Daugher’s Leaving
For a moment, you feel like you are in a painting,
a trial run for something more substantial,
sipping coffee late in the night
amidst neon and a fifties flair off the interstate.
You are done. Spent from joy,
Spent from the coming together of people you love,
a glorious comingling of company,
come and now gone, dropped at the airport
and you are in this in-between place,
not yet home, not yet separated from the loved one
dropped at Terminal A for the journey
to the place she calls home.
It is only the latest of a lifetime of such sending offs,
a child, grown, gone but not gone;
coming into your life, not knowing
she never left.
You sip your coffee. Alone in your thoughts.
Content here in the middle of nowhere,
you and the neon and the waitress.
And your thoughts of course, always your thoughts.
You finish the last drops
as the neon clock crosses midnight.
There are hours left to go before you are home.
Before you settle into your routine,
to the place she never left,
whether she knows it or not.
About this poem
Two of our daughters (and a boyfriend) have been here for Christmas. We took one down to Hartford, CT to catch a flight home (her flight from nearby Albany was one of the thousands canceled by Southwest this year.) and stumbled into the diner in the photograph. The poem, while not historical, was inspired by those things,
The diner is in a place called Whately, Mass. And it is truly in the middle of nowhere
Sounds like me when my daughter went to college back in 2001. Now living just 3 miles away, yet it feels like the same. Land Slide by Fleetwood Mac comes to mind reading your poem. Thank You!