I bought a one-way ticket to Canada.
Dad drove me to the bus station
at the end of West Gambier Street
not knowing when or if I’d return.

(When I was little, Dad never
quite knew what to do with me.)
Wordlessly we waited for the Greyhound
to carry me through Cleveland,
Erie, Buffalo, Toronto, Kingston.

I’d stroll across the Rainbow Bridge
through the mists of Niagara Falls,
Mom and Dad’s honeymoon in the 50s.
It wasn’t distance that silenced us
but the stark, apparent finality.

The zipper on my bag broke.
Dad slipped off his belt and,
equally grateful for the task,
we cinched it all together,
an effective tourniquet.

I recall wondering as I boarded
if he owned or needed to buy another.
A few years later, Dad’s belt was
my talisman, my tether to home.