Packing Up

My Aussie friend’s extended stay
May soon be drawing to a close.
I hate to see her leave this way,
But that and taxes, I suppose.

We ran, we laughed–oh, Howie laughed!
And then he left, as soon will she
To ply again her shepherd’s craft
In some far-off antipode.

Two dozen solstices we’ve crossed;
From autumn’s rain we drank our fill.
She looks ahead to winter’s frost
And thinks, Down south, it’s springtime still.

She hasn’t booked her passage yet
Which means we both can still deny
It’s coming; every day we get
Another chance to say good-bye.

The nights are hard: Might she decide
It’s time to leave while I’m asleep?
The will she/won’t she odds are tied
Like Erwin’s feline quantum leap.

Our book’s not through; I could refuse
To let her gently go, but rage
Would not make bright the light we’d lose
By gluing down the final page.

The day she leaves, I’ll plant a tree–
A dogwood–and I’ll think of her
Down Under every time I see
Its shadow where our footprints were.

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