Once, when you were away for a week, I wrote
your name on a banner to welcome you home.
Now the wind blows pieces of paper against
the car windows, and on each I see a letter
of your name, as if my voice were a pair of hands
good for nothing but tearing and breaking. How
did we become so foreign? I tell myself, I could
collect these fragments, patch them together.
I sit without moving as wind rocks my car,
whips scraps of white paper through the street.
—Stephen Dobyns, from section 2 of “Separations” in Velocities: New and Selected Poems 1966-1992 (Viking Penguin Books, 1994)