Outside it is monsoon season and

The green parrots hide in the plumeria.


I hide in the coffee shop and I read

Your words from six years ago.


    The poem you sent in ones and zeros

    The poem you sent on tenderness


The last time we saw each other you said:

I want to go to India too.


You said: if I had known you,

I wouldn’t have spent six years with you.


    The sentence in the grey armchair

    The sentence followed me here


It is afternoon and there is sewer gunk on my ankles,

There is dirt like freckles along my arms.


It is 3am where you are, curled around the dog.

I dreamt of her last night, wrapped up like a cocoon.


    The decision to buy the collar, the bed

    The decision to make separation impossible


Impossible and still, the ring is no longer on my left hand.

That hand, hollow spider along the keyboard.


But the dogwood is above my elbow forever,

so you hover next to me, even here, half-light limbs.



Austyn Gaffney is a freelance reporter based in Kentucky. Her essays and stories appear in Brevity, Prairie Schooner, Entropy, Alpinist, The Offing, and Blue Mesa Review where it was selected by Leslie Jamison. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @austyngaffney.

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