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leaving

this reminds me
of when I was a kid
and my parents
would have company
and they would sit
around and talk
or maybe play tripoli
and the time would come
when everyone would stretch
and the last cigarettes would
be stubbed out and the last
little bit of beer at the bottoms
of the bottles would be chugged
and everyone would say
well, guess it's time
to call it a night, work
tomorrow early, you know
and everyone would head
out the door, then stop
on the porch and talk, then
more stretching and the
walk to toward the car,
making it, maybe,
to the middle of the yard
and everyone would stop
and talk some more then
stretch and walk to the car
then stop and talk, women
on one side of the car
men on the other until
someone would yawn,
time to get going, they
would say, work tomorrow,
and the company would
get into the car and then
more talk, through the
window, men on the driver's
side, women on the other,
until, finally, the key would
turn and the engine would
turn over and there would
be more talk through the
windows while the car
idled until finally my dad
would give the top of the
car a little slap (and I
never figured out how
he knew when to do that)
and after a few thanks
for coming and thanks
for asking us over and
maybe we can do this
again next week and
our place or your place
and extended discussion
of whether our place
or your place, then
should I bring something
a pie, or a cake, six pack
of beer and more discussion
and finally, after some more
thanks for coming, thanks
for asking, the car would
slowly slip into the neigh-
borhood night and mom
and dad would walk back
to the house talking about
the people just gone,
evaluating everything
from hairstyle to choice
of beer along with
speculation about
the woman's cousin's
brother-in-law
who might or might not
be up at Huntsville
doing time for some kind
of stabbing over at that
beer joint on hwy 83

that's the way it was
when I was a kid
and mom and dad
had company and
parting may or may not
have been sweet sorrow
but it sure took up some time
at the end of the day

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