The One Abiding, 2003

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The Parting

I stood in the pine wood waiting for my friend
by the path along the water—
night falling, one last lobster boat
throbbing in from the bay.
I wished to say farewell, bonne chance!
I did not expect to see this man again.

"It's the end, I guess," he said, "but first
I'm glad we can share such a moment.
You've loved this place for years, quite as much as I
and must surely know what I'm feeling
now that my time has come to leave it behind.
What a heart-breaking sunset! Yes, I'm glad you're with me . . .

Still, you'll agree, I haven't been lucky here,
and maybe this moving on will help me find
whatever it is I've wanted.
I feel like being alone high up in the mountains—
the Rockies, maybe, or Tibet:
I might come upon something like truth—and if I die, so be it."

We watched the swollen sun sink redly seaward
and stood for a time not speaking—then shook hands.
"Goodbye," I said. "Prevail.
May life serve you well while it lasts!
I know you and I will be called as one, in the end."
He smiled . . . I pulled from my hip the flask of brandy
and we each took a sip before he turned and went.