Our son loves the butterflies and broken branches and small birds, and you, his father, are instead a rock inside my ribcage. And on the day when the boy reads almost a full page of a book by himself, though it is short, though it is only two sentences, though he is proud of himself and ten days away from kindergarten, I hold tight to the ache of you inside my chest, and am instead so angry I can hardly breathe. Because you should be here for this.
And I think instead of rivers, how, over time they wear their rocks down into sand, wonder how long I must weep until you have done the same, the grief become silt to run through my fingers, something I could just let go. Widow is a word wider than oceans, and I wish you’d never given it to me.
All week the anger just sort of leaks everywhere. I want instead to celebrate with someone and cry at the same time, but I leave the phone alone. Because it is ten days until kindergarten but only nine until our anniversary.
When that man had told me I was holding back, did he know you were why? Because you taught me how to be left, and I wanted him to stay. And when he too doesn’t, I will try and fill my arms with other bodies to hold, my hands with other skin, my mouth with other mouths, and still, they won’t fill me any more than does the moon in all of its aching loveliness, its bright too far away.
And so I think of instead of my heart, how once you had built a home there, had filled the chambers of it with something akin to light. These days something older reclaims it, the sound of drums through rushing blood, like night moving through trees, all that you had once tamed, wild.
Will think also, of the things you took with you to your grave. The splinters of wood beneath your palm. Some concrete below your back. That cold. Those snowflakes, settling in your hair.
Some days, will wonder too, what things of me you took.
And if I will ever get them back.