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Departing is Such Sweet Sorrow

Departing is Such Sweet Sorrow

In the parking lot after Romeo and Juliet
have killed themselves for love, after
the Capulets and Montagues
have renounced enmity, we sit stunned
in our cars by a greatness of love and loss
and traffic before us, cars star-crossed
and gridlocked, all angling for the exit,
       but it is August, and in these hot days,
the mad blood is stirring, so I signal
the boney matron in the Buick blocking
my leaving so that I might merge
into the exit lane, but she turns away
from the wave of my hand to fix
a frozen stare on the bumper ahead,
       O sweet my mother, cast me not away!
Have you so soon forgot that last sad speech?
Would that I pull out but a half-car length
into the lane, and so I creep forward,
and she creeps forward, then I inch,
then she inches, and I and she and I,
       when finally she stops,
and breaks off her statue pose,
glares straight at me and mouths:
       no damn way
and there lies more peril in her eye
than in twenty swords.
Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical,
       dear lady, I will leave this dance,
for you and I are past our dancing days,
and I intended but a small jest to raise your bile,
       so depart, fly, eyes look your last
and by all means go ahead of me,
and I back away, sweep my arm
in exaggerated politeness,
go before to field, I'll be your follower,
and good night, good night,
a thousand times good night,
       Hey Mercutio, my wife tells me,
would you just calm down already.

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