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Her car was packed with

All she could not leave behind

(But she did leave most of it

Behind).

The day had not yet broken into light

And the air was cool

With particles left over from the night.

 

Sleep clung to the bottoms of her eyelids

And made them heavy

So

With cold hands

She rubbed

And the sleep fell into her lap

Where it napped and inaudibly snored.

 

The windows of the car were open

Rolled all the way down

And a breeze that smelled

Like salt

And fish—both living and dead—

And sand

Tickled the edges of her nose.

She would miss the ocean

And everything above and below the water,

As well as the shore.

 

As the moon covered itself in blankets

The sun stretched his arms

And yawned into light.

Another day.

A new day.

A beginning born of

A choice and a choice

Born of

An ending.

 

(But endings are not always bad

Or painful

Or grim

But sometimes they are

But not today.)

 

She saw a sign ahead

It showed her

The path

She knew the miles were long

Each one separating her from

Then and

Now—

Not counted in numbers but in

Memories of then and

Budding dreams of

Now.

 

Music spilt into the crevices

Of her car—

Her skin vibrated with the driving beat

And so did all she could not leave behind

Like a school dance where

Nervous children of middle school age

Bob and sway in place while

Hoping

Someone will jar them from

Precarious

Aloneness.

 

She lifted her voice and sang along

And her hair blew wildly about her face

Synchronized with the chorus of

Wind and rhythm and the

Adventurous road beneath her

Carrying her

Further and

Further away.

 

She turned the wheel one way

To follow the direction of the road

Her body leaned into the path.

The wind shifted and rushed into her car

Like a wave

Unexpected and strong

Without a plan

But exacting a change

As its current lifted and

Dropped down again.

Among the things she could not

Leave behind

Was a box with no top and

Filled with letters.

 

The current of wind—

That was like a wave—

Picked up the words

He

Had written

And scattered them all

One by one

Through the car in a

Swirling tornado of

“I love you” and

“Remember when”

And,

“If you go, try not to forget.”

One by one

Out the window they flew

Like baby birds being pushed from the nest

By their mother who knows what is best.

 

She pulled to the side and she

Looked back

And all of her memories looked too.

 

Like baby birds the

Letters

And the words

And the

“I love you”

Hopped and they fluttered

And, eventually,

They flew.

 

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

 

(Photo credit:  This poem/short story was inspired by German painter Heiko Müller‘s painting, Blackbird.  http://heikomüller.de.  Incidentally, this is also the title of my favorite song originally performed by the Beatles and later sung by Sarah McLachlan.  Whether he linked this piece to the song on purpose or not, Heiko’s painting has added even more meaning to both for me.)

 

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