You would kiss your hand and slap
the ceiling of my car when we went
under a yellow light, just like the girls
I coached one year, who lifted their feet
off the floor and touched a screw
whenever we crossed railroad tracks.
When we drove to Savannah for
the first time, you wanted to play
the college collection of songs you
and your friends would sing along to.
We only made it to Madonna before
I suggested we talk instead. Even the
non-religious are superstitious, refusing
to wear the sweater of a serial killer.
Yours were rituals, you said, not routine,
and not the rut I stuck myself in every
morning at six, even Saturdays
and Sundays. You said the only space
I made for you in my life was moving
my chair to another room. Did you kiss
your hand and slap the doorframe
on your way out? Did you play
the same CD of breakup songs
as you drove away? Or did you
start something new? I moved my
chair back to where it belonged, set
my alarm for six, slept soundly.
Kevin Brown is a professor at Lee University. He has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (forthcoming from Wipf and Stock), A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press), and Exit Lines (Plain View Press 2009). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels.
Image: “Stamen” by Matthew Klein