Departure This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 25, 2009
Perhaps it was on the two hour ride
on the NJ transit to Penn station
that finalized the agreement between
us. You spoke for what seemed
like hours that day, convincing me
that you weren’t leaving.

But, like that first day when you lied
about your name, this time too, you lie.

Your promises overfill the train cart
and seep through the cracks in the glass windows.
And though you whisper in my ear,
I find hard to understand
the words that escape from your lips.

You do not notice that I sit here
carving crescents into my hands. You see only
that I do not understand; that it is necessary.

So when the voice booms
throughout the train, “New York Penn Station”
you hold me back. You plead,
saying it is not necessary
for me to leave.

However, this time, I parted my lips
to say “goodbye” and “take care”,
the only words that I now hear.

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