Endings without Goodbyes

Distance learning packets stand in towers of varying heights
on a table at the high school
I have come to take them for my daughters
but they’re really for me

I want an excuse to come inside here
before they close for good

I want to fill my arms with paper
to feel something solid
I am trying to stay afloat
in a sea of skinny blue links,
invalid usernames, and
portals that lead to no one

I scan the packet titles — World History, Biology, English —
but I don’t see my daughters’ courses
Do you have AP classes? I ask the counselor
“These are for people without internet access,” she says
and I feel embarrassed of my neediness

I take a COVID-19 fact sheet and walk out of the office
to the front door, pausing in the atrium

It smells of cafeteria food, cheap industrial cleaner, and feet
and I realize how much I love this place

Tears bulge, as my thoughts travel to
my daughter, in her last few months of senior year,
who may have to leave without saying good-bye