V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





I hate goodbyes.  I don't mean those we dread,
foresee or bring about, that shadow us,
but those that take us by surprise, the dead

air empty in their wake.  The words are less
important than that someone cuts the cord
quickly: so much already shadows us

we dare invite no more, no single word
or phrase beyond a short God-be-with-you,
Farewell, Good Night.  We want to reach accord

cleanly, without rancor, then cut through
the crowd, escape, forget.  Speak soon enough,
before someone can say "goodbye" to you,

or else, you'll watch it happen, hear the laugh
meant kindly, simulated through the noise
of crowds still trapped, not leaving fast enough

to drown the false cheer carried in a voice.
The need to part is real.  The words are noise.
I hate goodbyes: from those—to those—we dread
and need, who take or leave us, like the dead.

© by Ned Balbo


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