Listen to Michael Chitwood read this poem.
One way or another, we must all leave
I said to a room, a room empty of people,
save for me. There were two doors to the room,
ample avenues of departure. A small town.
A family. A faith. A marriage. A career.
The dailiness of days’ work done for years.
We are leaving even as we speak I said to no one
in the room with me. To whom did I speak?
To ones already left, though left can mean
both to remain and to depart? Dearly departed
you remain here with me in this empty room,
room enough for you, empty in my aching thought.
Leavings are that scatter, those remaining remnants,
our language littered with what can’t be gotten rid of,
our thoughts, our bodies ghosted, the leavings remaining.