I’m thinking of the lies we become as we age,
The rainbow sicknesses we keep,
The things we need to say never said.
Grass and weed, the lost work of walking,
The jog in memory, the finality
Before the final steps of truth can be told:
When the political prisoner of Burma was sent away
the government sentenced him to four years without
pencils, pens, computers, paper or books.
He tattooed his poetry onto his skin—
each blemish a key word, each scar an image,
each evening into darkness a memory carved into
the next day and the day after that. Words are easy
and overtime he learned all of them by heart.
and I, Michael Brownstein, stood up stretching,
walked into the flowers
and away from the rest of the world:
goodbye is not a refrain,
it’s just another label on a pair of jeans.
This is a goodbye poem
goodbye to the turkeys wandering onto our patio,
goodbye to the bald eagle who flew with our train,
goodbye to the doe nuzzling the small back of her mother,
goodbye to the snow melting into streams of flood waters,
goodbye to the winter and its warmth of surprises,
goodbye to on and on and on.