You stepped down from the banged-up
yellow Ryder rental truck
with its missing window, red
gaffer-taped side mirror, fish-tailed
car trailer and gave me
the biggest smile I’ve seen on your face
since you were six.
Heading out of here, you said,
stretching tight limbs until they popped,
the nose of the truck and your eyes
pointing north. I filled you up
with home-cooked food, gave you
jugs of tea on the creek deck
and stayed myself from flinging my arms
too many times around your grown-up neck.
The cats kept you company all night.
Breakfast among flowers
and great blue heron and kingfisher
then you stepped back up
into that big yellow truck
and were gone.
Patricia Wellingham-Jones is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, author of Don’t Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, and Welcome, Babies as well as editor of Labyrinth: Poems & Prose. She has been published widely in print and online journals and anthologies.