Nostalgia as the longing to be elsewhere

I know the kind of exhaustion
you spoke of at breakfast that morning,
as we passed plates of bread and cheese
and fruit around the table, and cup
after cup of strong black coffee.

The rain had not yet fallen hard,
though it was predicted. The salt
in the skin of cheese gave way
to the mellow note at its center,
and we married it with jam

and real sugar and cream
instead of milk because such things
when you can have them are precious
after all in this short lifetime.
And I wanted to say yes, I know,

I know that kind of loneliness,
the one that stays anyway, long
after the gleaming embrace of cities
turns to wreaths of dirt and smoke,
the way it is for immigrants

and dreamers when they first step
on land after having been at sea
for weeks or months; the way it is
when a dream has been held so long,
against the longer onslaughts of time.

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