My Last Goodbye

My last goodbye was the smell
Of piping hot lentils
Garlic and chili
Of spiced fish
Wrapped in newspapers,
 
My last goodbye was the sight
Of a jolly man seated at the table
In a pair of dark pyjamas
Clinging on for life
And a sleeveless white vest that near fell off,
 
My last goodbye was the sound
Of cutlery as it clinked at plates
Deathly silence of the people around me
The buzzing in overhead lights or perhaps in my own head
And the drip of curry as it reentered the bowl,
 
My last goodbye was the touch
Of his hand on my pocket
As he slipped me a few bills
Smiled a faraway smile
Said “Work hard”,
 
My last goodbye was the taste
Of salty sorrow and bitter loneliness
Of defeat
Of unpalatable regret
Of the knowledge I’d never see him again.

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