Exchange

On a breezy summer day
I walked with grim purpose down an alley
Green with the leaves of the season
To the soundtrack of a small army
Of screaming children.
Despite all the energy around me
My legs seemed to move through molasses,
Protesting against the day.

Raven hair in the distance;
Hair I had seen on a hundred nights
Splaying a sable fan on the pillow,
Black strands mirroring the branches of
Oak trees that frame the road.
Couldn’t smell it from here,
The hint of lavender stayed with me
Long after the scent left my nostrils.
I could still remember its silken touch,
Tickling my face to keep me from sleeping;
The breeze whipped it into a frenzy
Covering her face. But still

I knew it was her.
It’s odd what you remember. The
Way someone sits might as well be a signature,
How they hold their head when they’re sad,
How their legs cross, and when they’re anxious
The top one bobs like a metronome,
Bouncing to a nervous tune.
Even her hands. Still too far away to really see them, but
I knew how they would be. Thumb gently stroking
The skin on the left, as it clenched the small carrier bag
With knuckles white-hot around the handle.

I hadn’t even noticed the approach.
A few feet now, her daydream lifts
As the headphones fall from her ears.
We talk. There is an echo of affection in her words,
An effort to spark the same closeness we once shared.
But the flame falls on damp kindling, sputters
Dies.

Walking away I know she is
Watching.
Hazel eyes like the bark
Either side of me.

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