When I left my father’s house the first time
there was no elaborate leave-taking
of this tree, that pet fawn, that other vine.
It had to be done quick and clean, no aching
memory beads colour-sorted in straight lines;
just a single snap and the twig breaking
raw and free, oozing a transparent slime
between blood and tears, nothing epoch-making.
I still leave homes that are not mine, and yet
they feel like they are, they twist dancing knives
and sharp star-barb diamonds, oh elaborate
the farewells I must take! onionskins of lives
fall apart at first cut, and the consummate
traveller knows zilch who leaves or arrives.