Every Monday I miss you.
The longest day of my week and also always seemingly the coldest
and grayest. We talk about you in workshop every week, but without
them ever knowing who. Every week they talk about “I,” the “big loser,”
as my poetry teacher calls I, and I is me, and I always loses to “he”
or to “you,” which is you, of course, unnamed. I know who’s who.
Tuesdays are softer, the memories of yesterday
and you begin to blur around the edges
but the center is still clear, defined,
me without you, me without you.
By Wednesday I have written a new poem.
I try to keep you out but you manage to worm
you way in every time. It makes me sick
to see the pen ink you out again and again,
shaky, in different shapes.
Thursday. The first acceptable day
to get drunk. I while away the daylight
until starlight whistles and knocks, falls
in through the window. One drink. Four drinks.
How many more? Stagger them with water,
my aunt advised. I always forget this
somewhere around drink number two.
Friday repeats Thursday and Saturday repeats Friday
but more, and more and more.
I forget things. I forget to think about you,
too busy balancing on curbs, or holding my friend’s hair back
in the grimy fraternity house bathrooms, or sitting on couches
with the weight of a boy’s arm resting on my shoulders.
The heat of a hand on my knee also serves well to distract.
By Sunday morning I remember.
The lack of you punches holes in me–
the stomach, the lungs, the chest, cut clear through.
How long will you make me live without you?
I reread the poems. I itch for the phone.
I think your voice could cure the hangover, could heal
the wounds you left all over me when you took yourself away.
I prepare my papers for tomorrow.
Every week I think the days will change.
The pattern will change. It will change.
I will change. I keep writing.