The day he left, I sat up in bed,
Early morning sunshine streaming through the windows onto the cluttered floor.
He lay with his back to me as I read Virginia Woolf,
My hand on his shoulder blade, in his hair.
He breathed quietly, his skinny body contorted beneath the sheets,
All sinew and bone, long lashes and gaunt cheeks, angular and beautiful and sad.
I traced his tattoos with my fingers, ink raised beneath the skin.
I wanted to photograph him.
I would rub his callused knuckles between my fingers when he held me at night,
His hands cupping the small of my back, my neck, pulling my hair.
His skin was a tic tac toe board when we were through,
Scarred bright red from my nails,
Our necks purple battlegrounds.
It felt good to feel again.
The day he left, I walked upstairs and stood in the kitchen,
Not moving, not speaking.
Every sad song that had crowded my head in preparation for this moment suddenly vanished,
Just like he vanished around the corner of our apartment building,
Suitcase in tow.
The air was still and my face was dry
And I couldn’t move.
The day he left, I tried to make love to another man.
The afternoon sun was pale and watery, the room bare.
He lay me down on the bed and did everything right,
But I started screaming and couldn’t stop.