George Lober

Departure

There is something to be said
for stillness, for the way
a flat light early in the morning
enters the small living room
of a small house in New Jersey,
or the way an old woman
sits in that room, hands folded,
as still as the light itself.
She has been sitting,
we will learn later,
fully clothed, for hours,
unable to sleep or to stop
the tears brimming her eyes.
And maybe there is something
to be said for tenderness,
for the way my wife,
on the morning of our
departure, enters
that room in her pajamas
and opens her arms
to her mother’s sobs,
letting them in as easily
as children, or the way
her mother settles
against her shoulder,
shuddering between breaths
that she just can’t take
the loneliness anymore.
Perhaps there is even
a word for the way
my wife’s eyes well up
and the words clutch
in her throat, or how her mother,
lifting a small hand
to her own nose
whispers, “That’s life.”
But for the moments
that will follow,
the one in which
they hold each other
without speaking while
the room barely brightens,
and the moment after that
in which the truth
of their separate lives
rooted a continent apart
runs deep and wraps
itself around them,
there is no expression
this morning, no word
or syllable, not even
the thinnest of sounds.
George Lober

Books by George Lober