Venus rising

Leaving is never so easy as saying hello.
The whippoorwill outside my window tunes its song
as the sun readies itself for its morning stretch
vaguely past the eastern horizon.

The odometer respools as you stare ahead,
counting bags or trinkets—or layovers—in your mind,
while I search for the correct iteration
of farewell for you.

Your flight leaves in forty minutes,
in which time you must complete the march
from counter to metal detector to counter, again,
while I take the car and drive back home,

with the knowledge that the space of a weekend
never suffices. A sidelong glance marks you
staring out, away, to where your plane
will carry you over the northern horizon.

When I hold you, catlike, tired, in a curbside hug,
I feel the exhaustion in you; a slight sagging in muscles
as your beard pokes the part in my hair.
Under beard and jacket, you are thinner than I remembered.

Leaving is never so easy as saying hello,
but as I swoop the cloverleaf I look
across my shoulder, out the window,
to see Venus rising over a paling blue-black sky.