May and June…caps and gowns. I wrote the following poem for my friend Charlie who’s seeing his first born graduate from high school and leave for college. Charlie used the word “bittersweet.” Many years I ago, I wrote a similar poem for my friend Ellen who saw her first born leave for college at the airport. All she could say, after eighteen years of parenting, “Call when you reach Oregon.” This year, Ellen’s daughter is seeing HER daughter off to college.
No words have yet to be invented
“Call when you land,” or “You’ve got everything?”
It was the same on the day she took breath
Eighteen years ago. Silence, silence
Will hold in those words not yet invented.
Arms laden with bags, she goes off to college,
Wriggling fingers to wave good-bye.
Someday, someday, she will know
When she seeks the same un-invented words
At the airport or a train station. “Call when you arrive.
You’ve got everything?”