Sunday, June 23, 2013


it was a relief
not to come home to someone
I no longer loved
didn't know how to love again
and wasn't sure I could

moving her out felt right
we packed together
carefully rewrapping fragile wedding gifts
padding boxes with linens
upon which we had once made love

dividing our things
not truly grasping
we were dividing a life.

we were dividing a life
we'd stood in front of our parents friends God
and created. and promised to upkeep.

that's when it got harder
when the immediate relief was over

I realized I was separate
from that life

and the house we'd shared
got very, very quiet
and full of ghosts

she wasn't there to fold the laundry

to turn the washing machine on
to ignore the dryer signal buzz

or laugh at my attempts to cook

to bang pots around
to blend, to chop, to advise

or cry at those dumb commercials meant to make certain women cry

during shows certain women watch

or to yell 
up the stairs
"can you bring me my ____?"

the sounds of her movements
the presence of another
opening the door in a rush
to retrieve a forgotten item
reminding me of weather changes
of air filter changes
of our cycles and patterns

the creaky, almost loose stair
remained unfixed
and the ghosts of children
I had expected to climb the stairs
got really big

They grew up:

I had expected to scold children for sliding down the banister
and to mend hurt knees
when they did

to carry them upstairs to their bedrooms
when they'd fallen asleep

without these sounds
of the life I had intended
--of our life--
I had to leave.

I spent lots of nights in bars,
where other patrons became like family
and lots more nights working late

(a euphemism for nothing
since trying to find sex
or anything resembling romantic love
has been divided.)

some days,
the quiet is tolerable
or I turn on music she wouldn't like
and make monstrous sounds in the kitchen
or turn on the television

or turn on the bath faucet
and watch the water run
watch it fill the tub
I always loved more than she did.

climb in.
sink my head underwater.

try to drown the guilt
the disappointment
the sense that I betrayed everyone
myself most of all

try to balance the mourning
of separation
with this new life
I vowed to never want.

--February 17, 2012

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