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The Day I Leave
Lynne Santy Tanner


The owl last night was the first

I’d heard all summer. No one

is making me go and the yellow

squash are ripe on the vine.

When I am not there,

several will grow to good-size


but I will not pick them

nor will I eat the casserole I cooked

this morning and left for you.

Along the road I smile at the way

I can see between the rows of corn

even at seventy miles an hour


and just past the Pennsylvania border

a windmill turns. I imagine a family

living the way I dreamed we would.

As the valley fills with evening light

I lean toward the empty seat next to me

and tell you to look. On the radio


a song from years ago and I am crying.

A truck passes me and the driver beeps

then waves, frightening me, but the next

time I fall a little in love with him

and think he knows everything about me,

driving this interstate at dusk

six hundred miles from home.



From Where There is No Night (Finishing Line Press, 2004).
Used with the author's permission.



Lynne Santy Tanner was born in New York City but has lived for many years in North Carolina. A professional dancer and choreographer, she also writes and paints. A frequent artist-in-residence at the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Georgia, Lynne is the author of two chapbooks and her poems have appeared in numerous publications.

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