1 Week Without

(September, 2010)

Dear R——,

This is how it works:

You stand in front of the mashed potatoes for minutes upon minutes and try to remember something you forgot years ago.

You consider it. You consider all aspects of it. You consider the sharp edge of your loneliness and how deeply it cuts. You contrast it with your happiness and try to use the two together to devise a sum that measures worth.

This is how it works:

You get up at 2:30 in the morning to write this poem, disturbing the cat who is the only body warming your bed these days. This makes you feel guilty, but it speaks through you at the most inconvenient times, that tiny little spark of God inside, and you wish He’d keep a better schedule.

This is how it works:

You drag the notebook back over and fumble for the light. The cat is getting very annoyed now and soon he will leave you, too. Not for China. Probably just for the floor, but it might as well be China for how far from you it is.

You thank God again for The Gift. But not for the walls it gives you. Not for the way you can never just say what it is that you need to say, but instead must disguise it; must hide it between these pretty veils.

You wonder if this is the way it will always be. A notebook and an empty mattress and a warm body far away who has never quite gotten what he needs from you.

You close your eyes and it is just you and the cat and the whole universe inside,
screaming to get out.

This is how it works.

Sincerely,

T——

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