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You Were With Me

We all deal with loss. This piece is based on a vivid memory from a long time ago. A backpacking trip to the Sierras had me thinking, without cessation, about a previous girlfriend . . .

You Were With Me

For five days

of impossibly blue Sierra skies,

of scalloped waves in a melting snowfield,

of the thick ribbon of fast clear water,

you were with me.

The mountains I loved

were never part of your world.

I climbed,

full of random thought

upon forever switchbacks,

watching fluttering memories

like high meadow butterflies.

Sleepless, under a fishnet of stars and satellites,

fatigue unable to overwhelm thought.

Our discordant echo of failed love

had slowly faded over three years.

Until your flash flood

crashed down from some high canyon,

and I was swept away

in a torrent of unremitting worry.

The July third light faded around the council fire.

A well-tuned friend

heard your call

in my fearful musings.

Reach out, he said,

when we get down.

Could you feel my trepidation,

stronger than gravity itself?

But you had already left.

Your waiting news, my only companion

on the long bus home.

The droning night highway

cloaked my tears.

Passing fireworks

blossomed on windows,

their dripping colors

painting the disparity

of rain

pooling in my soul.

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