Night fall in Madrid

Like charms carried close,
the stories we tell,
words left in breadcrumb lines.
A hope, a dare, an unspoken promise,
maybe just smoke in the wind,
something to show us the way through.

Where we began is not the start,
the end is neither here nor there,
each step, a first step.

I came down the hill before dawn, and knew,
the way you know the tide,
by feel,
the boat was grounded out.
Old George was down at the shore
“Too early or too late,” he asks?
“Same difference ain’t it?” I said,
and set about patching gear,
any small thing, like I’d planned it all.

Forever immigrants,
cast adrift.
Homesick for the place even when we’re there.
Wistful for what might have been.
Contenders, signing up for casting calls,
but eyeing exits all the while.

Even perfect moments:
no matter
how close we lean,
how we laugh,
or eyes gleam
when your hand like a moth, brushes mine.
They fade, the summer light slips away.

Shadows widen, and we,
caught in currents slip beyond easy reach.
We’ve long forgotten
words to bind the distance.
I looked back, saw you pause
but a whisper couldn’t carry
and a shouted call would echo and shatter
leave harsh shards
scattered along the midnight streets among
goth girls in barely there black shorts and fishnet stockings
an old woman cradling a tiny dog
young men edgy and eager for adventure.

We tell tales, how
against odds
or just in time.
Knowing, too early, or too late,
it’s all the same.
So I whistle in the dark,
reach for the ghost of your hand
as I walk through the night,
wondering in the grey hours, trying to feel the tide.

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