How to Leave Them

You will try to leave them at 8 pm on a Wednesday from the floor of your bedroom closet while you cry.

You will try to leave them on a highway while driving 65 near a row of barren corn fields.

You will leave them in a bar with a half empty wine glass while you walk the streets in search of someplace to eat, leave them in the trees with their half fallen leaves and their branches brittle as bones, leave them as you pass by your old house, all the lights gone dark.

You will leave them as you eat alone in the same restaurant you had your last date in, leave them on the shelf amidst the boxes of old photographs and letters, leave them in an unmarked notebook, in the pages of a disappointing mystery novel, on a wooded path where the sunlight through the overgrowth is suddenly dim and unremarkable, where there are mosquitoes and rain and an anger you don’t want to claim.

You will leave them in the arms of a man, leave them as you hold someone’s skin to your skin, leave them in a smoky stadium while the beat of the music thumps in your chest like another off kilter heart. You will leave your ghosts in the grocery store, in the aisle of boxed cereal or cans of soup. You will leave your ghosts in a parking lot as you lock the car doors, in a bathroom stall at work, even in the dresser drawer amidst a pile of shirts.

You will leave them as you watch your son sleeping, his chest smoothly rising and falling, his face peaceful and relaxed, his small hands holding nothing, nothing, none of the weight you carry from trying to leave them.

2 thoughts on “How to Leave Them

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