I thought I saw you today—your wild, dark hair
gone gray, that wool overcoat you always wore
its collar pushed out against the world.
Your last night in town, we walked hand in hand
in Golden Gate Park, and I gave you a black-and-white
photo of birds that I took on Fillmore Street.
I must have printed twenty versions in the darkroom
watched the image appear over and over
until it had just the right shadow and light.
I signed my name on the archival mat board
the one I couldn’t afford. I wrapped it in paper.
I broke up with my boyfriend.
I had never created something beautiful
only to give it away. That’s when I found out
how easy it is to love a person who is leaving.
I kept all the letters you wrote me from Chicago
where you huddled in the Mrs. Fields Cookies
by the train station, calculating Chemistry formulas.
You made fun of the pop music, but liked the free heat.
Once you sent me a drawing of Mrs. Fields as Medusa
all her wild hair anything—everything—but gray.
Diana Donovan lives in Mill Valley, California. In 2021, she received nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her work has recently appeared in Off the Coast, California Quarterly, and Chestnut Review.
Photography by: Neelkamal Deka