...An Old Flame


i wrote it and sent it and held my
breath, hoping it would come back,
but of course it didn't. i knew it

i meant all the words, and a few i couldn't
write, too. oh, so many words i can't say,
not even in my head. they rattle around
in there, mixing among themselves and
creating an illusion that nothing is changed,
nothing is destroyed, nothing is lost.

so i want to know, when does it die?
when does the leftover pain and love
and all the good and the bad die? when
does it become less like a second skin
you put on every morning and more
like a hat you only wear once a year?

Don is right.


sometimes it feels like it's right now.
sometimes it feels like it never happened.
sometimes it feels like it was a long time ago.
sometimes it feels like the past.

it feels more like the past now than it did when it
had only been a month.

and sometimes i go places and expect that it
will be as it was and sweet words will be said
and soft noises made.

i leave quickly and do something else. i clean
toilets or do dishes or fold laundry or dust
or arrange candles to perfection on my fireplace
mantle. i *do* something.

today i dropped glenn off at his house and turned the
radio to a station *I* like and started to cry. i haven't
cried in weeks. i put my finger to my cheek and caught
the tear and kissed it, then laughed when it melted on
my lips.

you take what you can from the things that you leave
behind. you ignore the obvious and root out all the
tenderness and feeling and say to yourself,

"i was lucky to feel that way at all."



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