Leaving

There is a man on the radio,
singing a song about leaving the city
as we finish our final beer
amidst the bustling backstreets
of Barcelona.
He doesn’t like the crowds,
or the noise, or the way that
the atmosphere steals sleep
from the limbs of the weary living.

I think that he might be William Fitzsimmons,
coffee shop soundtrack to a slow final sip
as the taste of the drink becomes bittersweet
just as it begins to stir in my stomach.

His song fades outside of the subway
as the first drop of rain in a four-day stay
settles onto the slick pavement,
and reminds me of a forgotten raincoat
buried in a rucksack worn from travel,
seams steadily beginning to unravel
as the weight of experience presses against them.

The first splash of water falling onto
sun cream soaked skin not yet reddened
feels with too much force to be
a sign of the fleeting times I’m living in.

Boarding the last train, at the last second
amidst the crowds of hungry tourists
drowning the hum of the city above
as it descends into the lively evening;
lights illuminate our ride to the airport.

Leaving always leaves me with the same feeling,
somewhat somber, echoes from elsewhere.
The narrow streets seem narrower still
as they line the way to the terminal gate,
like lights on the waiting runway.
Rows of painted doors, once open, now closed
as they deny the opportunity to stay.

I have grown accustomed to leaving –
cities, loved ones, late nights early.
The art of leaving is embedded in my gene code,
the only craft in which I am accomplished,
and each time it grows easier
to say goodbye to a graying sky,
because the prospect of what comes next
is the promise of a more prosperous journey
enough to quell the pull of the past
which grows weaker with each new departure.

Barcelona, May 2017

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