Again and again and again
Every time I check the mail and the box is empty of everything but bills and advertisements I swallow a tiny disappointment. I wonder if those disappointments will collect in my stomach, undigestible, making me heavy. I wonder if the combination of their weight and the way my heart skips beats when I read your name—even if it’s not you being written about, even if it’s the name of a stranger or included in the title of a book—will cripple me, make me unable to walk without my knees buckling. I wonder if one day I will be picking the paper up off the end of the driveway and your name will be there on the front page and I will fall, crying out, onto the pavement and the blood on my knees will stain my jeans and no matter how hard I try to scrub it out it will remain there, a reminder. I wonder if every time I stir honey into my tea you can feel the curve of my fingers around the spoon, a spoon you once handed me over breakfast on a Tuesday while you smiled and said, “You’re so sexy in the morning.” Can you hear me, when I breathe into the pillow? Because I can hear you: the absence of your soft snores, same as the absence of your hands on my waist and the coldness of your feet on my calves. I say your name and the walls toss it back at me, my own ears cages for the sadness in my voice: the same pain that leaves dishes in the sink and laundry on my bedroom floor. I stare into the bathroom mirror and I tell my sunken-eyed reflection that no matter how many hours of sleep I lose, I won’t dream of you. But I wake up remembering, every time. And it’s only on Sundays that I can forgive you for the letters you never send, because I don’t have to listen to the mail truck rumbling past, knowing that there’s nothing coming for me. But still I sit by the window, watching. Swallowing, again and again.