The knot in my stomach tightens
Squeezing tears, dripping
Like a drenched towel left on the clothesline in the rain
Twisted in clenched fists.
I’ve missed you so much
Just as you miss him now
But you are still here, yet not.
I often force myself to remember
That playground looks different now,
I don’t recognize it with all the modern greens,
Smaller, less inviting than when we went there,
Tammy in her stroller, I pulled the chain down
Securing her in the metal swing
Now a ghost at that park.
Remember when we were in our own world, playing with dolls,
In the park, in the living room, on the kitchen table,
I need to hold onto those grainy colored snapshots
For that person is no longer here.
Now she sits alone in the kitchen listening to melodies of his native tongue
Understanding better than when he spoke to you.
And you cry as I cry,
Gripping pain, face twisted and squeezed,
You said you wish he would visit you in this desolate place
While I just want you to return to see a pretty sunrise,
Or a red-breasted robin singing in the yard.
But I know you cannot, will not,
Allow yourself such pleasures.
Angry words burn in my head as I realize we are the same
Guilt and loss, a penance
Boring holes too deep to fill with empty words.