Some mornings while I’m making breakfast I look at the couch and imagine you, still sitting there, beaming at me, in your sweatpants and your glasses and your hair tied up. A wave of peace rushes through me. There is some early morning television running in the background but neither of us is really aware of what it’s advertising. “What would you like?” I ask. You smile brightly, serene, as you quietly get up and walk toward the kitchen and wrap your arms around me. I rest my chin on the top of your head and shut my eyes, taking slow, deep breaths, savoring the moment and the scent of your shampoo.
And then the toaster pops and my eyes open and the couch has been moved and the TV is off and the entire kitchen smells like charred bread and I butter your toast and then throw it away.
the skeletons of my cigarettes, and the
skeletons of the trees
and the skeletons of my poems
and the skeleton in me;
and the dead skin flaking from
each of them.
she lingered in my life for months after she’d
left, in the form of
lost lingerie behind dressers and bookshelves,
and familiar perfumes in department stores,
and the taste of flesh that wasn’t hers,
and all her
goddamned pet names
in the dictionary of my phone.