Days of the week

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.


For Silent Ear

I wonder what you do now at night,

at the height of the very hour

when heavy violet used to hit

us in the eyes

and drove us into the arms

of one another. We were so

generous with mouths

and music, food

and words.

To you I gave

myself away

with every kiss

and conversation.

I imagined you

were collecting the sweetest

pieces of me, storing them

in some deep vault

to be savored later,

when it came time

for remembering.

But in the blue arch of my dream

I saw you burying them

in the backyard,

like a dead pet.

I felt the dirt slap

again and again

on the parts of me

that I thought you swore

you would hold dear.

The space between us

grew darker, denser.

The dirt rained down.

I heard it like a thousand

hands applauding,

deafening, deafening.