My mother cried when my father
took his first trip back home to the Philippines.
I don’t remember how old I was,
just that I was too young to understand
the distance life creates at times
between parent and child, husband and wife.
The first time my wife had to go away
from me on a train, she cried,
and I spent the night in Milwaukee
where I’d gone for work
afraid of ghosts and wary of falling
into the silence of an old hotel room.
When we first moved to this small town
and my wife had to go into the city in the morning for work
our four year old daughter would talk to her on the phone
and cry “come home, come home”
even though she always made her way
back home in the evening.
I know we don’t have it bad.
I know so many people have it much worse.
I know all about dependence and independence
and that there’s work to be done
and miles to be crossed on our own,
and how we should be able to do this
then be together again so naturally
but let’s not get too carried away
by the weight of our actions
and the speed of these objects.
Let us not spend so much time apart,
or allow our souls to hover too long
over great distances.
Let us always stay in the same room
through the stories we tell each other
even when we tell them at different times
and in different places.
And let us always be alive like this,
on all these planes that fly,
and for every second,
as we rise through every break in the continuum.
Photograph by Jose Padua