An untitled farewell poem composed two months ago

I want to leave my voice with this place
along with strands of hair and the skin
of my cheeks, a tiny drop of blood,
bits of me I don’t need, so leaving them doesn’t make me less.
Rather, I will be added to you
in a simple equation
that reads the same back to front:
you have added to me, too.

If I could just become part of the accumulation
of things here, of small, flimsy, lined notebooks and exams
the size of newspapers, of chalk dust and cigarette butts
in the last stall of the girls’ bathroom… oh, if I could just be
part of the mundane here, accepted as fact…

What I wanted to do was tell you what I know
in the language I know it in.
What I’ve done
is soak you up the way rice does gravy.

I will leave behind only the nonessential, just enough
so when I’m home again someday, some thin whisper—
perhaps music like screeching or food
so pungent I gag and then consume
entirely—
will give me pause
and though I may be in the tallest building
in the biggest city in the hot middle of the day,
I’ll face east and hear a cock crowing.

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