Knowing

Finally asking directions
in the crowded blue-walled corridor
I am shown the exit into growing
twilight chill and rose gray
those moments after sunset

I head up Main or Broadway
but always south toward a bus
stop on the west side of the street
to wait for a belching yellow bus
that will take me

But where will I go or want to
bundled against the cold’s sharp
contrast with his still warm memory
his gentle hand reaching
for mine across the wooden armrest
in the stifling auditorium
while some professor propounded
on a subject long forgotten

He was bronze with the black hair
of India and his voice was soft
so that I had to lean sideways
to hear his reassuring tone
“We’ll get through this,” he’d said
so I was sure

But now out in the crisp night
it’s as if I’m on some moving sidewalk
never moving closer to what must surely be
the Old Place huddled at the bottom
of the hill, empty now and canted
toward the walnut trees, deconstructed
wren house above a cornflower tangle
forsythia waving wildly over the
walk leading to the gaping front
door memory sliding toward

his kiss in the hall later
just a gentle salute not wanting
more but yet a warm embrace
before we parted each knowing
we’d never see the other again.