18

is lemon bitters on a blistered tongue
rivers running through your eyes
that hollow you out
refill you with lost treasure

years of forgotten giving
wrapped in brown paper
loosely tied and handed back to you
thanks but no thanks

I don’t need you
until I do and when I do
get your fill ’cause
train’s coming through again.

And then, as quick as a spring sky
grays, it’s a kiss on the cheek
a hand squeezed, a still moment spun between
the rushing wind.

Maybe it’s this way to prepare you for
the leaving.

Julianne Palumbo’s poems, short stories, and essays have been published numerous literary journals. She is the author of Into Your Light (Flutter Press, 2013) and Announcing the Thaw (Finishing Line Press, 2014), poetry chapbooks about raising teenagers. She is the Founder of Mothers Always Write, an online literary magazine about motherhood.

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