People disappear
Without admitting that they have left

Maybe we should have
Spoken more honestly
Before it was too late

Maybe you never knew that
I wanted you with
All your
And contradictions.

I wanted you
With all your grief
And unresolved feelings.

I wanted you
Without your poetry
Or your praying.

I waited for you
To want
To emerge from that

Put down your books
And look at me

I wanted you
And alive
For us
To reach for something more.

“Love you forever”
You wrote
Before you left.

I could wait
For the uncertain
Rhythms of your body.

I would have traced the ridges of your
Left from battles
Long since resolved.

But you
Came back.

And I waited
too long.

Didn’t want to believe
This ghost
Was all that was left

Until you started hating
For remembering
How much more you
Could be.

I still have that book
With the words
You chose
So carefully.

But you are
Long gone.

And sometimes it is still hard to remember

Sometimes people leave
And come back again
Rising and falling
Like the tides.

Sometimes people do emerge
From their tombs
Willing to feel again.

Sometimes people wander in the wilderness
Searching fiercely for what they misplaced along the way
Examining every lost thing
Longing to be found.

Sometimes people are able
To rage
At the moon
Or whatever moves them.

Sometimes people rise up
From disaster
With ashes on their face
Ready to comfort another survivor
Because they too have known pain.

And sometimes people

Maybe I should have let you go
Much sooner.

You kept claiming
My love
No matter how much
It hurt
Until the pain was all we could remember.

I didn’t want to
Give up.

But you were right
about one thing
at least.

I would never be content
Being bound forever
To the dust and shadows
From your disappearing.

© 2016 Chris Paige. All Rights Reserved.


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