Returning to Exile

(And I did not want to see him go. I could only imagine his clothes on his closet, folded and awaiting for his return next year. My son's blog entry, on my going away, again and again.)

It is a child's language of pain
minus the words and hyperbole.

No exaggerations here but descriptors
of what we go through, we exiles
to ourselves, to other selves.

Loss, losses, in time and memory.

It is distance you can never navigate
you make up for whatever you can scrimp
like stories we can only imagine
or laughter we are never part of
but caught on screen or on camera.

Always you spot this:
the surface of joy is flat, and is bland
you cannot even touch the heart in pictures
sent to you on e-mails.

You do not know the toll it takes
to go away. Always, it is the anticipation
of return that makes matters worse
and like children, you feel all those rivers
becoming oceans, those deluge of absences
coming in to account small-time presences
you can afford to give as luxuries.

It is that you are always looking
for your children in the blank stares of screens.

And you think of your story
multiplied a hundredfold,
ten million of your people going through it all,
this loss, this loss, this loss.

You know of the dividends, like a son
looking at your clothes packed
for the touching, yours, till next,
neat and nifty, and the naphthalene balls
at work. What do you say?
How do you say regret in a sentence
crisp and clear without words?

How do they take it,
the absence of periods and pauses
for this going away when in mornings
children need your command
of loving, hurrying them up to catch the hours
or bring them to their evening concerts
while you wait in parking lots
by reading your tabloid paper
from page one to the puzzles?

You take in all these,
remembering what the son wrote
in his blog, a masterpiece of sadness.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI
En 11/09

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