Had I been less prepared, I would have left
in springtime, when the plum tree in the yard
was still in bloom,
the windows open after months of snow,
one magpie in the road
and then another.

I could have slipped away, late afternoon,
while everyone was busy somewhere else,
the fish van at the corner, children
dawdling home from school
in twos and threes, a porch light
lit against the dusk on Tollbooth Wynd.

Give me these years again and I will
spend them wisely.
Done with the compass; done, now, with the chart.
The ferry at the dock, lit
stern to prow,
the next life like a footfall in my heart.

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