Poem Written Before Another Page Turns

"You can love them like a country." 
~ Sean Thomas Dougherty


All they'll remember is that you left.
All they'll say is how could you.

You could write a whole logbook of reasons
and still come up short. And a myth

is a story that's been retold the way
one points at a port wine stain,

a giant mole, a birthmark— It never
completely fades; you learn to wear it

as if it could ward off the cold and the grief.
You suck on its stub like a cigarette picked off

the sidewalk, hoping one more curl of smoke
lives inside. You strip the leaves down

to the stalk to smell summer's light
on your hands before the wind strikes

a chord and lectures the birds on how
to say where, not whir; bread, not braid.

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