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.



I think that this is the time of year to be sad.

The thin light, the frail dustings of snow.

Everyone is sick with something, love or death, a lack of magic;

it shows up everywhere on the body:

gathering under the eyes,

cracking the bottom lip,

softening and scratching the voice like strep.

I am sick with you,

sick without you;

somehow I finally understand

and it seems so unfair that it should happen for us this way,

staggered, at different times, on opposite sides of the coin.

Soul mates is a heavy phrase. I am afraid that you cannot

take the weight. Pain and love. Single syllables.

Sharp and poignant both, like shined knives. We had to set

our time aside, and it was like breaking a bone

just to watch it heal.