They say Gone ahead
as if the beloved had merely walked
faster than the rest of the group, gone
into the dappled park with its near-spring
greenery and enticing little waterways,
leaving the others still gawking at every
shop crammed with tchotchkes along the way.
They say Passed: as if she had spent
the whole morning in a cold,
high-ceilinged classroom, carefully
filling in ovals on a test form using
a No. 2 pencil, and less than an hour later
gotten her score. As if a cloud floated
its blue shadow over the town, or
the last of a parade turned the corner,
its spirited music growing fainter.