I saw her on the platform
sitting, waiting for the train
the same as I remembered
little changed from Soho days.
We spent our days in Soho
loving through the afternoons
but we wanted very different lives
too great a gulf to compromise
and so we went our separate ways
our paths now crossing for a moment
‘neath the Pennsylvania clock.
That’s how I remember it.
She maybe saw it different.
She saw me too and smiled at me.
“How are you!” A warm embrace
two former lovers face to face.
And it felt so good to see her
while looking every bit the part
a successful and established man
heading home to wife and child.
Over coffee in the diner
we caught up on years gone by.
She never saw me in a suit
remembering the sax instead
playing blue notes Friday nights.
"Still composing sharps and flats?"
Trading gains and option rights.
"And what of music your first love?"
She knew what made me happiest
the music I had given up.
The publication of her novel
New York Times best seller list.
My marriages and children
water under all the bridges
while fingers touched across the table
until the time for her to go.
And as she kissed me on the cheek
she saw that look upon my face
and put her fingers to my lips
to quiet words I ought not say
whispered in my ear “Be happy”
disappearing in the crush.
And when I lost her in the crowd
I knew what I had missed the most.
I missed her boundless faith in me
that made me feel
when she was near
so much more than what I was.
That she could see
what I might be
even when I couldn’t.
Her boundless faith went with her
when we parted long ago
leaving me to doubt my choices
pondering the road I traveled
a moment from The Way We Were
with me as Hubbell Gardiner.
That night I played my saxophone
dreaming dreams that might have been
if I had been as brave and bold as she.
An excerpt from "Initial Verses - a Collection of Poems on Love, Loss, Poverty and War".