I woke to find the house filling
with tears, running under the bedroom
door, sloshing along the baseboard
and rising above the bed frame,
like one of those screwball
movies where the bathroom
fills with water until a fall guy
opens the door. But no one did,
and we all cried until the house
filled up like an aquarium
where we never quite got the hang
of breathing through gills.
The house was empty, like a pond
drained of water, the last fish
gulping in a drying slough,
and I didn't know until I didn't see
the furniture that wasn't there
how lonely I would be.
The bloom of a match as I lit
a candle in my darkened room
froze her face and hand
for an instant in a blossom of light.
At midnight I sat under a light brighter
than it had ever been, so bright
it seemed to push down on me, push me lower
into the chair, push my head deeper
and deeper into my hands, until I had to escape,
and in her quiet dark bedroom
I could still smell her shampoo.
I looked for her where they said she'd be
to try to find her one more time,
to say, say something, good-bye,
but love was useless, and what was in that box
was not her, a drying sediment
and not the great gentle river that she was.
Still, she is a worm in my heart,
winding through and through,
nuzzling the living chambers,
holding the walls together.