She was always there

with a word or a smile
and so it was this time
as I set off on the longest journey of my life

I felt nothing
save the gentle pressure of her hand
when she said, this is my parting gift
travel well
and touched her fingers to my chest

A sense of companionship endures
as if she speaks through others:
the strangers I meet
strangers I feel I have always known

I think this is true:
that sometimes their load is heavy
and though I travel lightly, I cannot share
This is a regret that can bring sadness
particularly as the evenings lengthen
and winter approaches

I have turned now
and face the homeward journey
That place where she touched my chest
is calm and warm

~ ~ ~

A moment without reason
without work

A moment to let friends and strangers
dwell together

A photograph drifts from face to face

A beautiful moment of regret
without blame

~ ~ ~