I had no choice then but to evaluate you
in the ways I already knew:
are you smart, are you pretty,
does your smile come from your heart,
are you generous with yourself,
do tears flow when life dams you up?
What I wanted to know,
is would I miss you each time,
20 years later,
watching you walk out the front door to go to work
or taking the kids to school
or slipping out at 2am to drive all that way
to sit with your mother when she needed you.
Love becomes an underground fire,
easily banked or drowned or lost.
Would you look over your shoulder on the way out,
Would I always wish you godspeed?
Those are not, it turns out, questions;
they are simple facts to make true,
Time has exhausted those early wishes.
This is the round for routine chores,
of preparing for a day when
one of us will reap the harvest,
bake it like bread on those banked fires,
let the aroma dig deep inside–
so that I can miss you,
as much as I dare,